OUTGOING first minister Carwyn Jones has confirmed he will not make a decision on the M4 relief road before he leaves office next week.

Although Mr Jones had previously promised he would decide on the scheme before he steps down, this has looked increasingly less likely, and earlier this week AMs were told the decision would not be made until the new first minister was in place.

And now Mr Jones, who will step down on Tuesday, December 11, has written to AMs confirming this is the case.

In the letter he said a decision had not yet been taken to issue the orders to give the building project the go-ahead due to "the need for thorough and robust due diligence".

"The orders decision will not now be taken by me, but will be made following the appointment of the new first minister, likely to be sometime in the new year," he said.

"Whilst this may be frustrating, this important matter cannot be rushed."

He added: "Members must be afforded good time to review the inspector's report and the orders decision before the committed debate.

"The Welsh Government has always been clear that given the significance of the M4 project to Wales and the strong feelings on all sides, Welsh Government will, once the orders decision-making process is complete, bring forward a debate in its own time so the Assembly can discuss the project."

The news comes after AMs passed a non-binding motion last week for the decision to be left until Mr Jones' successor is in place.

Mark Drakeford was elected as new leader of Welsh Labour on Thursday, and is expected to be appointed as Wales' new first minister next week.