Welsh first minister and LGBTQ+ ally Mark Drakeford resigns

Mark Drakeford, the Welsh Labour leader and first minister, has announced he is stepping down from the role.

Drakeford, 69, has been Wales’ first minister since 2018 and announced his resignation on Wednesday (13 December). The decision triggers a leadership contest for his position.

He told journalists at a quickly organised press conference that it had been a “huge privilege” to lead Welsh Labour and the Welsh government.

“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,” Drakeford told reporters.

“Nominations for my successor as Welsh Labour leader will open shortly and I’m confident the process can be concluded by the end of the spring term.

“That will enable the name of the winner of that contest to be put to the Senedd [Welsh parliament] before the Easter recess.”

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During his time as first minister, Drakeford has been a staunch LGBTQ+ ally.

Back in 2022 Drawkford stood firmly with the trans community when he unequivocally declared that trans women are women.

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In February this year, the Welsh government published its LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales under Drakeford, which laid out the devolved nation’s plans to become the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe.

In November, he was honoured by Trans in the City for his work supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

“We want Wales to be a nation where everyone feels free, supported and safe to live their lives as they would choose to do so,” he said at the organisation’s annual gala evening.

“We recognise the discrimination that trans and non-binary communities continue to experience.

“That is why our aim is to use every lever we have available to guarantee that stigma and discrimination have no place in Wales, by strengthening human rights, by banning conversion practices, by removing barriers which prevent LGBTQ+ people from being able to live freely and without hate and abuse.

“The Welsh government’s position is that trans men are men, and trans women are women, and non-binary identities are valid.”

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