Drakeford will deliver more for North Wales, say region’s AMs

Drakeford will deliver more for North Wales, say region’s AMs

Mark Drakeford is the Welsh Labour leadership candidate who will deliver for North Wales.

That’s the message from four North Wales AMs backing the ‘21st Century socialist’.

Ahead of a hustings in Rhyl on Thursday (October 18) Economy Secretary Ken Skates, AM for Clwyd South, said a prime reason for backing Mr Drakeford is his commitment to North Wales.

Mr Skates said: “It’s clear that Mark is the choice of – and the best candidate for – the North. A key consideration of mine was the future development of, and investment in, North Wales. Mark understands the need to address concerns over the divide between North and South and to ensure we have a strong voice and the ability to flex our own economic muscles.”

Launching his North Wales campaign at Coleg Cambria in Northop on Saturday, Mr Drakeford announced that – as First Minister – he would appoint a Minister for North Wales to address the ‘disconnect’ with the South.

He said: “I recognise there has always been some sense of disconnect between the North and the South. As First Minister I would appoint a Cabinet Secretary from North Wales as a Minister for North Wales and they will have the full machinery of government behind them. I will ask that person to explore what more can be done to strengthen the bonds between the North and South, by considering an idea developed by Ian Lucas, MP for Wrexham.”

Mr Drakeford said the North Wales Minister will chair a standing committee of the Cabinet, to meet regularly in North Wales.

Outlining his vision for the economy, Mr Drakeford said: “What I am describing is a reapplied radical form of 21st Century socialism where we use the power of acting together to make the biggest difference in the lives of the greatest number, to lead and not to follow the fourth industrial revolution and to create an economy here in Wales which by sharing the fruits more fairly provides prosperity for the many, not just the few.”

Lesley Griffiths, Hannah Blythyn and Jack Sargeant are also backing Mr Drakeford, as are North Wales MPs Albert Owen, Chris Ruane and Mark Tami.

Delyn AM Hannah Blythyn added: “As a proud North Walian, I am acutely aware of the disconnect that exists between many in the North and our National Assembly in Cardiff Bay.

“People want to see devolution further focus on regional needs and for our devolved government to have a greater footprint in and connection to our corner of the country. Mark is the candidate who not only understands this but who, as Welsh Labour leader and First Minister, will deliver more for North Wales.”

Mrs Griffiths said she wanted a Welsh Labour leader and First Minister with ‘a strong moral compass’ – and believes Mr Drakeford’s experience will be vital when it comes to Brexit.

She said: “This leadership contest comes at a time of huge uncertainty and hardship for the people of Wales. The UK Government’s austerity agenda has put unparalleled pressure on the Assembly budget and the daily lives of Welsh people, and its shambolic Brexit negotiations – if we can call them that – are reaching a critical stage, with countless livelihoods at stake. We have to have someone leading the Labour Party in Wales who has the skills, knowledge and experience to improve people’s quality of life.”

Alyn and Deeside AM Mr Sargeant said: “The country and my constituency face many issues, social and economic – particularly Brexit and the future of industry. More also needs to be done to end the feeling of a North-South divide.

“I also believe Mark will champion the need for a kinder politics that I have advocated and want to see being practiced in the Welsh Assembly and in wider public life.”