Politics

Welsh politicians in the spotlight

By Jack Hudson

Carwyn Jones

He is the current First Minister of Wales and the third Labour politician to lead the Welsh government since its creation. However, there will soon be a fourth, as before the end of the year Jones will be replaced by the winner of the Welsh Labour leadership contest that is currently taking place. Having been the First Minister since 2009, Jones has been a constant figure in a changing political landscape and has generally avoided controversy. His resignation, however, comes in the context of a scandal following the death of former minister Carl Sargent. The inquiry into Jones’ actions is still ongoing.

Leanne Wood

She might be the only name from this list you recognise as the woman who spoke for Plaid Cymru in the general election de- bates in 2015 and 2017. Despite having a public pro le perhaps greater than the First Minister’s, her in uence in Welsh politics does not match this, as her party currently has fewer seats than the Welsh Conservatives in the Assembly. Her elec- tion as leader of Plaid Cymru in 2012 was ashocktothepartyasshewasseenasanout- sider from the left of the party. She is currently ghting a leadership challenge. Wood’s position re- ects Jeremy Corbyn’s in the 2016 Labour leadership election: she does not have much support from her MP’s and AM’s, but has a strong chance of retaining her position because of support among party members. e winner will be an- nounced on 28 September. If she does overcome this challenge, it is her stated aim to become First Minister in 2021; otherwise, she has promised to resign.

Paul Davies

He became leader of the Welsh Conservative Party in the National Assembly this month, succeeding Andrew R. T. Davies. He won the contest with 68.1% of the vote. Having been deputy leader since 2011, he is believed to have avoided the controversies brought by the previous leader who was an ardent Brexiteer. Paul Davies on the other hand backed Remain, though is now committed to seeing Brexit through and has been described as a “man in a beige suit” (in other words, very boring).

Gareth Bennett

He was elected as leader of Welsh UKIP in August and is a controversial g- ure even within the party. In 2016, he blamed Cardi ’s uncollected rub- bish problem on students and East- ern European migrants. Recently he has backed Boris Johnson’s com- ments on the burqa, has said that transgender rights could lead to the ‘implosion’ of society and is under investi- gation for allegedly spending £9,000 of public money on an o ce that never opened.

Alun Cairns

He is the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan and has been Secretary of State for Wales in the United Kingdom Government since 2016. He is responsible for the abolition of the Severn Bridge tolls and its renaming to the ‘Prince of Wales Bridge.’ Cairns was accused of bringing down the previous Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew R.T. Davies, in what was called a ‘coup’ from Westminster. Most recently, he announced the scrapping of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project which drew ire from Welsh nationalists.

Mark Drakeford

He is the current frontrunner in the race to replace Carwyn Jones as First Minister. He has the backing of the pro-Corbyn momentum group and would likely be a very different First Minister for Wales to the three who have come before him.s the current frontrunner in the race to replace Carwyn Jones as First Minister. He has the backing of the pro-Corbyn momentum group and would likely be a very different First Minister for Wales to the three who have come before him.

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