Perhaps the most eye-catching change in a cabinet reshuffle for Prime Minister Mark Drakeford is Vaughan Gething’s replacement as Minister of Health.
Mr Gething, whose profile has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, will be replaced by Eluned Morgan, who has a bulging bin waiting for him in his new post. The former Member of the European Parliament and Peer was recently Minister for Mental Health, Welfare and Welsh Language.
Mr Drakeford also had to appoint a new Education Minister after Welsh Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams, who had held the post since 2016, decided not to stand for re-election.
He chose Jeremy Miles, who recently served as General Counsel and Minister for European Transition, for this role. A former lawyer, he was first elected to the Senedd in 2016 and will now oversee the implementation of the new Wales program and lead this summer’s GCSE and A-level rating, which is undertaken by teachers.
Ken Skates, who served as economy minister, returns to the backbench after telling the prime minister he no longer wants a ministerial post. In a statement he said: “This week I informed the Prime Minister of my wish to step down from the Welsh government. After eight years in government now is the right time.
“Clwyd South has always remained my number one priority and my decision will allow me to spend more time in the constituency, focus on local affairs, as well as further strengthen the party’s position in North Wales and the -of the.
“I will continue to be a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Mark Drakeford and our Welsh Labor government from the back seats.
“Above all, I will spend the next five years focusing tirelessly on helping the people and communities of Clwyd South as a local member of Senedd.”
Mark Drakeford – Prime Minister
Mick Antoniw – Designated General Counsel and Minister of Constitution
Rebecca Evans – Minister of Finance and Local Government
Vaughan Gething – Minister of the Economy
Dawn Bowden – Deputy Minister of Arts and Sports and also Chief Whip
Lesley Griffiths – Minister for Rural and North Wales Affairs and also Trefnydd
Jane Hutt – Minister of Social Justice
Hannah Blythyn – Deputy Minister for Social Partnership
Julie James – Minister of Climate Change
Lee Waters – Deputy Minister of Climate Change
Jeremy Miles – Minister for Education and Welsh Language
Eluned Morgan – Minister of Health and Social Services
Julie Morgan – Deputy Minister of Social Services
Lynne Neagle – Deputy Minister of Mental Health and Wellness
Mr Drakeford said Mr Skates would “focus on strengthening Welsh Labor in North Wales ahead of next year’s local elections and the forthcoming UK parliamentary elections”, adding: “He will also strengthen the Labor links between North Wales and North West England “.
In an interview following the announcement, the Prime Minister said: “Ken has been a real force in the cabinet and a voice for North Wales. He will continue to speak for North Wales and for Welsh Labor but in a different role. His energy will be missed. and passion. “
When asked if he had moved Mr Gething from health to economics or if Mr Gething had asked to move, Mr Drakeford declined to answer.
“We discussed it together,” he said. “This is an important decision for the government and for them given the fantastic job they have done in Wales to keep the country safe.
“Vaughan Gething has been Minister of Health for seven years and I can tell you that after being Minister of Health it is extremely demanding work.
“The other part of the pandemic is the economic crisis and dealing with the economic consequences will manifest itself in the months to come and we have decided together that his talent, his commitment and his abilities are best used to help us there.”
Pressed to know if in the midst of a pandemic was the time to change his health minister, Mr Drakeford said: “We are not in the middle. We are coming out of it and where we are at home. in Wales today we have the lowest death toll in the UK and the best vaccination figures anywhere in the UK.
“We are very fortunate to have Eluned Morgan as Minister of Health in the cabinet of the recent party, which means she is in the best position to take on the responsibilities that remain with us due to the pandemic, but also to rebuild the health service.
“I think we are very fortunate to have Vaughan Gething, with all that he brings, to focus on this economic momentum and Eluned Morgan with all of his experience and ability to rebuild.”
Tourism is not explicitly mentioned in any of the titles, but Mr Drakeford has confirmed that it will still be part of the economic portfolio currently held by Mr Gething. He said full details of the sectors for which ministers will be responsible have yet to be released.
Julie James will head a new climate change department with Llanelli MS Lee Waters as Deputy Minister. Mr Drakeford said he had put the transport dossier on climate change to address the three main drivers of carbon production.
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“Our homes, our travels and the way we generate energy are the three big carbon engines in our lives and I want to bring them together with planning and the environment to create a powerful new climate change ministry for itself. ensure that Wales plays its part in the next five years in the twin urgency of biodiversity loss and climate change, ”said the Prime Minister.
Jeremy Miles was appointed Minister of Education and Mr Drakeford said he chose the Neath MS because he was “immensely capable”. He added: “Nowhere is this more important than with our young people and our education system.
“I wanted to combine responsibility for the Welsh language with education because of our ambitious goal of having one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and if we are to be successful we need to develop these speakers of the future in our schools and Jeremy is someone capable of fulfilling both responsibilities.
“This is an important portfolio of the firm and it will bring all the strength it has to ensure that we succeed with the new program and whatever we want in our university sector and we have to make sure that the interface between the skills that we train people through our continuing education, our colleges and the apprenticeship program that goes hand in hand with the economic responsibilities to ensure that it ensures that we offer in our manifesto on the training or education of our youth. He will work closely with Vaughan on this shared agenda. “
Mr Drakeford was asked about the extent of this change in leadership after an election where his party campaigned to be the party of continuity. “We were never elected on this basis,” he said. “We were elected on the basis that we were going to resolve the coronavirus crisis. “
He said his message to his new cabinet is: “I want them to engage from the start with the most challenges we have to accomplish, to be that radical reform government that I want us to be for them. next five years. “
You can follow all the latest analysis and live reactions to the announcement here, while if you go here you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the day Mr Drakeford was reconfirmed as Prime Minister.
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