JOHN Griffiths, MS for Newport East, has backed Jeremy Miles to become the next leader of the Welsh Government.

It comes almost a week after First Minister Mark Drakeford announced he would be leaving the post in March 2024, triggering a leadership contest in Welsh Labour ranks.

Economy minister Vaughan Gething confirmed his intention to stand the next day, December 14, with support from Newport West MS Jayne Bryant, Caerphilly MS Hefin David and Newport East MP Jessica Morden among others.

Education and Welsh language minister Jeremy Miles picked up a raft of endorsements, including Islwyn MS Rhianon Passmore and Newport East MS John Griffiths, before formally entering the race on December 18.

READ MORE: Who is Welsh Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Miles?

Mr Miles now enjoys the support of a majority of Welsh Labour MSs though it will be party members across the country who determine the result.

A number of the party’s 30 Senedd members – 17 of whom are women – felt it important to have a woman on the ballot but the most likely contenders Hannah Blythyn and Eluned Morgan ruled themselves out of the running.

In the absence of an obvious socialist successor to Mr Drakeford, the two men who will be on the ballot have fought to persuade left-leaning members of their commitment to social justice.

'Clear ideas'

After conversations with both candidates, Newport East MS John Griffiths has revealed his reasons for backing the education minister to take the top job.

“I have decided to support Jeremy Miles MS for the leadership of Welsh Labour and as our next First Minister. He has the ability, character, and commitment to do a good job for the people of Wales,” Mr Griffiths said.

“Having myself attended evening classes and university as a mature student with a young family, I very much value Jeremy’s work as Education Minister to provide second chance opportunities in our system.

“He has clear ideas for delivery of our public services – health, education and close partnership with local government, as well as how to build our economy. And the drive to tackle inequality of opportunity and outcome.

“I will be nominating Jeremy to take our country forward and deliver for our communities.”