First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Wednesday (December 13) he would be stepping down as Welsh Labour leader.

The news has about Mr Drakeford's resignation has now triggered a contest to find his successor, which will take place in the coming months.

The 69-year-old Labour politician, who has been Wales’ leader since December 2018, said he hoped his replacement could be in place before Easter 2024.

At a news conference in Cardiff, he said: “In the meantime, I will remain as First Minister in the full sense of that job.”

Following Mr Drakeford's announcement on Wednesday, we take a look back at his career and all that transpired leading to his resignation.

Mark Drakeford's career timeline

  • 1985 -1993: Councillor - Mark Drakeford represented the Pontcanna ward on South Glamorgan County Council.
  • September 18, 1997: Devolution is won - Wales makes its voice heard, with a referendum on a Welsh Assembly voting Yes. Mark Drakeford was among those who campaigned in favour of an Assembly.
  • June 5, 1999: Winning a seat - Mark Drakeford is elected as the Labour candidate for Cardiff Central at the first Welsh Assembly election.
  • May 5, 2011: New Seat - Drakeford succeeds former First Minister Rhodri Morgan as the Assembly Member for Cardiff West when Morgan retires at the 2011 election.
  • 2013: Ministerial role - Drakeford is promoted by First Minister Carwyn Jones, becoming Minister for Health and Social Services.
  • April 21 - 23, 2018: First Minister steps down - After Jones' announcement that he plans to step down, Drakeford announces he will launch a leadership bid for Welsh Labour and the First Ministerial position.
  • December 6, 2018: Leadership - Drakeford is elected as the leader of the Welsh Labour Party, saying he intends to hold the role for five years.
  • December 13, 2023: Stepping down - Mark Drakeford announces he will stand down as Welsh Labour leader. Now a leadership contest for a new first minister will be held, with a new party leader elected before Easter. Mr Drakeford intends to remain as first minister until his successor is elected.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford's resignation speech in full

Mr Drakeford, announcing his resignation on Wednesday (December 13), said: “I have today formally notified the chair of the Welsh Executive Committee of my intention to stand down as leader of Welsh Labour in March 2024.

“When I stood for the leadership, I said that, if elected, I would serve for five years.

“Exactly five years have passed since I was confirmed as First Minister in 2018.

“Nominations for my successor as Welsh Labour Leader will open shortly.

“The process will be concluded by the end of the spring term, to enable the name of the winner to be put to the Senedd before the Easter recess.

“In the meantime I remain your First Minister.

“We have a busy few months ahead of us, full of major events and challenges which I will be fully focused on – a child poverty strategy, the final report of the independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, the future of steel-making in Wales, the conclusion of consultations about making council tax fairer, and the reform of the school year, module 2B of the Covid-19 UK Inquiry, co-operation agreement commitments to deliver, and a Budget to pass.

“There will be plenty of time for political obituaries and retrospection once I cease to be First Minister, but not before.

“In a five-year period, which has seen Wales deal with austerity, Brexit, the Covid pandemic, the climate crisis, wars in Ukraine and the Middle East and four different prime ministers – so far – there will be lots to reflect on.

“For now, I will continue to deliver on the promises we made to people across Wales.

“The next Welsh Labour leader and First Minister will, I hope, have the opportunity, which has not come my way, to work with a newly-elected Labour government in London.

“I will work as hard as I can to see that Labour government elected.

“It has been a huge privilege to lead both the Welsh Labour Party and the Welsh Government.

“I have also had the enormous fortune to have played a part in Welsh politics during the first quarter-century of devolution.

“None of that would have been possible without the consistent support and enormous hard work of my talented Cabinet colleagues and successive Labour group.

“Now it is time to look forward to the next five years across the UK and to the next 25 years of devolution in Wales.

“That journey begins today.

“Diolch o galon i chi gyd (Thank you all from the bottom of my heart).”