Mark Drakeford

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Mark Drakeford
Mark Drakeford - National Assembly for Wales.jpg
Cabinet Secretary for Finance
Assumed office
19 May 2016
First MinisterCarwyn Jones
Preceded byJane Hutt
Minister for Health and Social Services
In office
14 March 2013 – 19 May 2016
First MinisterCarwyn Jones
Preceded byLesley Griffiths
Succeeded byVaughan Gething
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for Cardiff West
Assumed office
5 May 2011
Preceded byRhodri Morgan
Personal details
Born (1954-09-19) 19 September 1954 (age 64)
Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Kent at Canterbury

Mark Drakeford (born 19 September 1954) is a Welsh politician and academic, who has been the Welsh Labour Assembly Member for Cardiff West since 2011, and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance in the Welsh Government since 2016. He is currently a candidate in the upcoming election to succeed Carwyn Jones as leader of Welsh Labour and First Minister of Wales.

Drakeford is considered to be on the left-wing of the Labour Party, and is supported by some members of the grassroots groups Welsh Labour Grassroots and Momentum.[1] He was the only sitting Cabinet member in any part of the UK to support Jeremy Corbyn in his bid for the national leadership of the Labour Party in 2015, while he was Minister for Health and Social Services.[2]

In addition to his membership of the Labour Party, he is also a member of Unite the Union and UNISON, and a solidarity member of LGBT Labour.[3]


Mark Drakeford was born and brought up in Carmarthenshire, West Wales. He studied Latin at the University of Kent at Canterbury and received his PhD from the University of Exeter, after which he trained both as a teacher and a social worker. He moved to Cardiff in 1979 and worked as a probation officer and a youth justice worker, including as a Barnardo's project leader in the Ely and Caerau communities. His experiences working with young people in deprived areas inspired him to help establish the Welsh youth homelessness charity Llamau in the late 1980s.

After a period working as a lecturer at Swansea University, he continued his academic career at Cardiff University and became Professor of Social Policy and Applied Social Sciences, a position he retained until his appointment as a Welsh Government minister in 2013. He has published a number of books and journal articles on various aspects of social policy.[4]

Political career[edit]

Drakeford has always been interested in politics, which he says was part of the fabric of life in 1960s Carmarthenshire.[5] He has also stated that he was 'always Labour', believing that a person's ties to the economy are the great determining factor in their life chances. [6]

From 1985 to 1993, Drakeford represented the Pontcanna ward on South Glamorgan County Council, the area in which he continues to live. Future Assembly colleagues Jane Hutt, Julie Morgan and Mick Antoniw were among his contemporaries on the Council. He served as Chair of the Education Committee and took a particular interest in Welsh-medium education.[7]

Having been part of the successful Yes for Wales campaign in the 1997 Welsh devolution referendum, he was selected as the Labour candidate for Cardiff Central at the first Welsh Assembly election, as part of Labour's ‘twinned seats’ policy. The seat was won by the Liberal Democrats' Jenny Randerson.

Following Rhodri Morgan’s appointment as First Minister in 2000, Drakeford became the Welsh Government’s special advisor on health and social policy, and later served as the head of Morgan’s political office. He had been close with Morgan for a number of years, having been Morgan's election agent when he was elected to the UK Parliament. In his role as a special advisor, Drakeford was one of the principal architects of the 'clear red water' philosophy, which made a distinction between Labour Party policy under Morgan in Wales and under Tony Blair in Westminster.[8]

Drakeford succeeded Morgan as the Assembly Member for Cardiff West when the latter retired at the 2011 election. Soon after, he became Chair of the Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee and of the All-Wales Programme Monitoring Committee for European Funds.[9]

In 2013, he was invited by First Minister Carwyn Jones to join the Government, replacing Lesley Griffiths as Minister for Health and Social Services. His appointment was welcomed by the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing. As Health Minister, he guided both the Human Transplantation Act and the Nurse Staffing Levels Act through the Senedd.

In a reshuffle after the 2016 election, he became Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government. His portfolio was later changed, as he assumed responsibility for the Welsh Government’s Brexit preparations and responsibility for local government was transferred to Alun Davies.

Leadership campaign[edit]

Immediately following Carwyn Jones’ announcement on 21 April 2018 that he intended to resign as party leader and First Minister, Drakeford told BBC Wales he was giving a leadership bid ‘serious consideration’.[10] Two days later, he announced that he would seek to be a candidate in the ensuing leadership contest.[11] He immediately secured the public support of seven other Labour AMs, taking him beyond the threshold of nominations needed to get onto the ballot.[12] Prior to Jones giving written notice of his resignation on 26 September, a further nine Labour AMs announced they would be nominating Drakeford, meaning a majority of the Labour Group in the Senedd would be supporting his candidacy.[13] He later received support from 10 MPs, eight trade unions and 24 Constituency Labour Parties.

At a special conference on 15 September 2018, it was decided that the voting system for Welsh Labour leadership elections would be changed to a variation of one member, one vote – a change for which Drakeford had been campaigning for over 20 years.

Early policy proposals from Drakeford's leadership campaign included a pilot for universal baby bundles and a push for the devolution of the Probation Service.[14][15] At the North Wales launch of his campaign, he set out plans for a Social Partnership Act to protect employment rights, and plans to establish a Community Bank for Wales.[16]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Register of interests for Mark Drakeford AM". 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  4. ^ "Mark Drakeford's research works | Cardiff University, Cardiff (CU) and other places". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  5. ^ "Mark Drakeford Interview". Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  6. ^ acast (2018-01-12). "Mark Drakeford | Martin Shipton Meets... on acast". acast. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  7. ^ "Member Profile". National Assembly for Wales. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  8. ^ Williamson, David (2010-02-23). "Rhodri's 'clear red water' adviser to stand in his seat". walesonline. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  9. ^ "Member Profile". National Assembly for Wales. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  10. ^ "Drakeford in Welsh Labour leader bid". BBC News. 2018-04-24. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  11. ^ Shipton, Martin (2018-04-24). "'I'm the unity candidate,' says Mark Drakeford". walesonline. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  12. ^ "Drakeford in Welsh Labour leadership bid". BBC News. 2018-04-24. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  13. ^ "Most Labour AMs back Drakeford for leader". BBC News. 2018-09-17. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  14. ^ "Baby bundle plan for newborns backed". BBC News. 2018-09-10. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  15. ^ "Mark for Leader/ Mark ein Harweinydd on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  16. ^

External links[edit]

Offices held[edit]

National Assembly for Wales
Preceded by
Rhodri Morgan
Assembly Member for Cardiff West
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Lesley Griffiths
Minister for Health and Social Services
Succeeded by
Vaughan Gething
Preceded by
Jane Hutt
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government