ON WEDNESDAY, December 12, Mark Drakeford became the new first minister of Wales.

Mark will naturally face challenges over the next few years.

Chief among them will be how to minimise the disastrous effects on Wales of the UK Government’s ever changing Brexit proposals.

Mark will also be responsible for the decision on whether to press ahead with the M4 relief road.

Regarding the leadership campaign, I'm delighted with the friendly way in which the three candidates conducted themselves during a strong debate on policy.

Mark Drakeford has my full support and I look forward to continuing to be a critical friend to the Welsh Government as I make sure your views are heard.

- A very important part of my work is engaging with business and residents to improve the area they live.

The demise of town centres across the UK is partly a symptom of an change in the way we shop.

The growth of online shopping is one factor, but efforts to revive and change town centres need to be pursued with the business community, local people and elected politicians.

I've been working with Wayne David MP in Bargoed to try to bring people together in the new year to examine what we can do to improve the fortunes of the town of Bargoed in particular and town centres in general.

I will report the findings of this in due course.