Wales first minister appoints his top team

Wales’ new Labour first minister Mark Drakeford has announced his government team after taking up the top job.

Rebecca Evans and Eluned Morgan are promoted to cabinet as finance minister and international relations minister.

Vaughan Gething remains at health, while Ken Skates stays in charge of the economy and Lesley Griffiths keeps her rural affairs portfolio.

Alun Davies has been sacked as local government secretary. He was criticised for comparing councils to Oliver Twist.

  • Drakeford sworn in as first minister
  • Mark Drakeford is new Welsh first minister

Huw Irranca-Davies – who had been a junior minister for children and older people – has also left the government.

The new local government minister is Julie James, with Hannah Blythyn as her deputy.

Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams keeps her job in charge of education.

Llanelli AM Lee Waters and Cardiff North’s Julie Morgan join the government for the first time.

Mr Waters becomes a junior transport and economy minister while Ms Morgan is to be deputy health minister.

Independent AM and ex-Plaid Cymru leader Lord Elis-Thomas retains his deputy minister’s post for culture, sport and tourism.

Jeremy Miles stays as counsel general but also becomes the minister for Brexit.

Jane Hutt returns to government as chief whip with the rank of deputy minister.

Mr Drakeford, who succeeded Carwyn Jones as Welsh Labour leader, had promised a “gender-balanced” government, which includes eight women and six men.

He called his cabinet a “strong mix of experience, talent and passion” to deal with “our greatest challenge” of Brexit.

“In the extraordinary and regrettable circumstances created by the UK government, it is vital that we prepare for all outcomes,” he said.

“I have retained ministers in posts where their experience of Brexit preparation is key, while creating a new post to reflect the priority I attach to international relationships and trade.

“As a government we will continue to speak up for Wales, to fight our country’s corner and make sure the government in London is never in any doubt at all of what matters to the people of Wales.”

In a change of terminology, cabinet members will be known once again as ministers rather than secretaries.

Cabinet in full

First Minister – Mark Drakeford

Health Minister – Vaughan Gething

International Relations and Welsh Language Minister – Eluned Morgan

Economy and Transport Minister – Ken Skates

Housing and Local Government Minister – Julie James

Finance Minister – Rebecca Evans

Education Minister – Kirsty Williams

Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Minister – Lesley Griffiths

Counsel General and Brexit Minister – Jeremy Miles

Deputy ministers

Chief Whip – Jane Hutt

Deputy Health Minister – Julie Morgan

Deputy Culture, Sport and Tourism Minister – Lord Elis-Thomas

Deputy Economy and Transport Minister – Lee Waters

Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister – Hannah Blythyn

Analysis by Vaughan Roderick, BBC Welsh Affairs editor

Mark Drakeford’s new government sees key ministers like Ken Skates, Vaughan Gething and Lesley Griffiths holding on to their portfolios.

He’s also bringing AMs like Lee Waters and Julie Morgan – who were regarded as members of Labour’s awkward squad – into government for the first time.

The appointment of Llanelli AM Lee Waters as deputy minister for the economy and transport is being seen as a clear signal that the plans for an M4 relief road south of Newport are in jeopardy.

Mr Waters has been a longstanding and vocal opponent of the proposal and would find it difficult to remain in post were it to go ahead.

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BBC News – UK Politics

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