Vaughan Gething has been confirmed as Wales' First Minister. He was elected as Welsh Labour leader on Saturday, March 16. Mark Drakeford took his final First Minister's questions and gave an emotional resignation speech in the Senedd on Tuesday.

There was a standing ovation in the public gallery as Mr Gething's family, friends and supporters cheered his selection.

Mr Gething used his first speech to thank his predecessor. "It is said that ‘no legacy is so rich as honesty’, Mark’s leadership is characterised by those words. Yesterday’s contribution placed that firmly on the record once more. Can I today once again say diolch yn fawr for everything you have done for Wales."

He also said he would stand up for Wales "and for devolution". "I want Wales to thrive in the sunshine that hope and social justice can offer. Wales deserves more than just sunny spells," he said.

"I have spoken about my determination to offer a listening ear and hand of friendship," he says. "Restoring trust and recovering dignity in the way we speak to one another is more important than ever," he told colleagues.

Questions continue to follow Mr Gething about his campaign and donations received as part of it. He received a total of £200,000 from David Neal, a businessman convicted of environmental offences. More information from the Electoral Commission, which became public after the campaign finished, showed further donations totalling £51,000. Mr Gething maintains he declared all donations in line with campaign rules but has said there will be a review of Labour rules now the campaign has ended. The details of that review are not public.

Follow live updates from the Senedd below:

Images from today's vote

These images have been released by Welsh Government:

Mark Drakeford during the vote (Image: Welsh Government)
Vaughan Gething is voted in as First Minister in a vote on March 20 (Image: Welsh Government)
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'Scrap your vanity projects'

Andrew RT Davies MS, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said:

I congratulate Vaughan Gething on receiving the endorsement of the Senedd to become the next First Minister of Wales.

Vaughan now has an opportunity for a fresh start, to scrap Labour’s vanity projects and deliver for our NHS, for our schools and for families up and down Wales.

Our message to Vaughan is clear: If you are prepared to scrap plans for more politicians, to scrap the 20mph speed limit, and scrap the Sustainable Farming Scheme as it stands in its current form, we will work with you to deliver the people’s priorities.

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'Campaign was divisive'

Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has said the ongoing questions about donations are a "serious cloud" over the now First Minister's office.

I congratulate Vaughan Gething on become the First Minister of Wales and wish him well. He inherits significant challenges as a result of Labour’s record in government in Wales, coupled with Tory austerity.

A faltering economy, longer NHS waiting lists and falling educational standards is a legacy of collective government in which the incoming First Minister has played a central role for over a decade.

We know the Labour leadership campaign was divisive, but we also saw a paucity of new ideas. The people of Wales will rightly be thinking that what lies ahead is likely to be more of the same.

Ongoing questions around donations to Vaughan Gething’s campaign is now a serious cloud over the office of First Minister. Holders of high office must be able to secure the confidence of the electorate and in the absence of that money being repaid, public perceptions will persist.

At a time when the Conservative UK Government has run out of road and with Labour failing in its duty to fight for Wales, it’s more important than ever to have a strong Plaid Cymru voice putting Wales’ interests first and making the most of its influence to bring about positive change in Wales.

We will leave no stone unturned in holding the new First Minister and his Labour Welsh Government to account.

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Vote breakdown

The deputy Llywydd confirms 51 votes were cast:

  • 27 for Vaughan Gething
  • 13 for Andrew RT Davies
  • 11 for Rhun ap Iorwerth
  • No abstentions
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'We can celebrate our differences'

I believe the Wales of today and the future will be owned by all of those decent people who recognise that our parliament and government should look like our country. People who recognise that our hope and ambition for the future relies on unleashing the talent of all of us.

A Wales that recognises that we can celebrate our differences and take pride in all of those things that draw us together and make us who we are.

That is the Wales that I want to lead, a Wales full of hope, ambition and unity.

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'I choose to stand for positivity'

I choose to make a stand for positivity and to never fan the flames that are hurtful to people and damaging to our global standing.

To stand for a set of ideas and policy innovations that are rooted in Welsh values. To stand for a leadership grounded not in bitterness, resentment or the fruitless search for a past that never was, but a leadership based on hope, to advance the case for human rights, for solidarity and for a commitment to playing a collective, international role in addressing the challenges we face.

I cannot let this election nomination pass without saying something about its historic significance. I am after all the first leader of my party – and indeed my country - with an ‘ap’ in their name.

We have of course, today voted to ensure that Wales becomes the first nation anywhere in Europe to be led by a black person. A matter of pride for a modern Wales but also a daunting responsibility for me – one that I will never take lightly and today, we can also expect the depressingly familiar pattern to emerge. Abuse on social media. Racist tropes disguised with polite language.

People questioning my motives and my nationality. Whilst others question why I’m 'playing the race card'. To those people I say once more, it is very easy not to care about identity when your own has never once been questioned or held you back.

That section of his speech gets a lot of claps and praise.

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'Time to restore trust'

Mr Gething says the "boundaries of devolution" have been pushed. He says the UK Government is "determined" to undermine the Senedd. "It is deeply, corrosive, wasteful and undemocratic".

My misspent youth included time campaigning in the Yes for Wales movement that won the referendum that made days like this possible. For a growing number of Members in this chamber, devolution – Welsh solutions for Welsh problems and opportunities – has been a constant feature of our adult lives.

In recent years we have pushed the boundaries of what is possible with devolution. We did it to keep Wales safe.

But in that same period we have seen unprecedented hostility towards democratic Welsh devolution from a UK Government determined to undermine, frustrate and bypass the Welsh Government and this Senedd.

As well as leaving Wales with less say over less money, it is deeply corrosive, wasteful and undemocratic.

As First Minister I look forward to standing up for Wales and for devolution in the weeks and months to come. But I relish the opportunity to cooperate for Wales with a new UK government that invests in partnership and in Wales’ future.

I relish it because – like so many members and friends here today – I want Wales to thrive in the sunshine that hope and social justice can offer all of us. No matter what our background – what we look like or who we love.

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'Diolch yn fawr Mark'

I am particularly grateful to my predecessor, Mark Drakeford, for his nomination and for the support he has offered me - not just in recent days - but through the many years we have worked so closely together.

I don’t think that any of us would ever want to live through those dark days of the pandemic again. But – like other colleagues here - I was incredibly grateful fto have Mark as our First Minister through that time.

History will rightly judge Mark kindly for the compassionate, collegiate and ethical leadership that shone through such dark days for our nation.

It is said that ‘no legacy is so rich as honesty’, Mark’s leadership is characterised by those words. Yesterday’s contribution placed that firmly on the record once more. Can I today once again say diolch yn fawr for everything you have done for Wales.

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Huge claps

There are huge claps in the chamber and in the public gallery as Mr Gething gets up to speak.

Mr Gething thanks those who have supported his nomination. He thanks Mark Drakeford for the nomination and support. "Not just in recent days byt in the many years we have worked so closely together".

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Vaughan Gething is selected as First Minister

Vaughan Gething is selected as First Minister. His name is now recommended to the King.

  • Rhun ap Iorwerth (Plaid Cymru)
  • Andrew RT Davies (Conservatives)
  • Vaughan Gething (Labour)
  • Everyone present voted on party lines, sole Lib Dem Jane Dodds voted for Vaughan Gething.
  • Rhys ab Owen MS - suspended
  • Mick Antoniw MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Mabon ap Gwynfor MS - Rhun ap Iowerth
  • Rhun ap Iorwerth MS - Rhun ap Iowerth
  • Natasha Asghar MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Hannah Blythyn MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Dawn Bowden MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Jayne Bryant MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Cefin Campbell MS - Rhun ap Iowerth
  • Hefin David MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Alun Davies MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Andrew R T Davies MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Gareth Davies MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Paul Davies MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Jane Dodds MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Mark Drakeford MS - Vaughan Gething
  • James Evans MS - absent
  • Rebecca Evans MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Janet Finch-Saunders MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Luke Fletcher MS - Rhun ap Iorwerth
  • Peter Fox MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Heledd Fychan MS - Rhun ap Iorwerth
  • Russell George MS - absent
  • Vaughan Gething MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Tom Giffard MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • John Griffiths MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Lesley Griffiths MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Llyr Gruffydd MS - Rhun ap Iorwerth
  • Siân Gwenllian MS - Rhun ap Iorwerth
  • Mike Hedges MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Vikki Howells MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Altaf Hussain MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Jane Hutt MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Huw Irranca-Davies MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Mark Isherwood MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Joel James MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Julie James MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Delyth Jewell MS - Rhun ap Iorwerth
  • Elin Jones MS - not able to vote
  • Laura Anne Jones MS
  • Samuel Kurtz MS
  • Jeremy Miles MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Darren Millar MS - absent
  • Eluned Morgan MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Julie Morgan MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Sarah Murphy MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Lynne Neagle MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Peredur Owen Griffiths MS - Rhun ap Iorwerth
  • Rhianon Passmore MS - absent
  • Adam Price MS - Rhun ap Iorwerth
  • Jenny Rathbone MS - absent
  • David Rees MS - not eligible to vote as is deputy presiding officer
  • Sam Rowlands MS - Andrew RT Davies
  • Jack Sargeant MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Ken Skates MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Carolyn Thomas MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Lee Waters MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Joyce Watson MS - Vaughan Gething
  • Buffy Williams MS - absent
  • Sioned Williams MS - Rhun ap Iorwerth
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Three candidates

There are three nominations:

Rhun ap Iorwerth (Plaid Cymru)

Andrew RT Davies (Conservatives)

Vaughan Gething (Labour)

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Vote for First Minister to take place

The vote will take place imminently.

The public gallery is once again very full, with a mix of school visits, officials, civil servants and journalists. Mr Gething's wife and son are both here to watch the vote take place.

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Mark Drakeford's resignation has been accepted

The next step in the handover has taken place - King Charles has accepted the resignation of Mark Drakeford. It does officially mean that Wales is currently without a First Minister.

Letter from Llywydd Elin Jones informing the Senedd Mark Drakeford's resignation has been accepted by the King

That means the timetable for this afternoon has now been confirmed, and the vote to replace him will be the first item of business at 1.30pm. Because there are three candidates who will put their names forward, there will be a full roll call vote with each Senedd member's name called alphabetically and they will have to name who they vote for.

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'Tricky' start for Vaughan Gething

On the latest episode of The Rest is Politics podcast, presented by Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart, the pair discussed Vaughan Gething's election.

Mr Campbell, is a former journalist and spin doctor in Tony Blair's administration, and Mr Stewart a former Conservative MP.

The pair, who have spoken before about money in politics, said they said this was another example which should lead to a clean-up which they want Sir Keir Starmer to instigate if he becomes Prime Minister.

Mr Campbell said the donations has made it a "tricky" start to his tenure. "It's going to be tricky, it was a very narrow win, there's quite a lot of healing to be done, the elected representatives feeling quite put out and then there's these big issues, you've got Port Talbot steelworks under threat, the health service which is used as a political football nationally, you've got pretty tough education challenges. It's not an easy place to be".

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'We need to learn the lessons'

Blaenau Gwent MS Alun Davies, who supported Jeremy Miles, was also on the breakfast programme on Radio Wales. He had raised concerns about the donations.

We've had the election and I think I agree with Eluned that you turn your pages, you can't live in your past. I think its right and proper whenever we conclude a campaign that we learn the lessons from it.

He said the election campaign was reviewed after Carwyn Jones' election and "it's the right and proper thing to do to look at how you run these elections".

He was asked his specific concerns about the donations.

I think the issues around money in politics go far beyond what's happened in the last couple of months. Money in politics is always a corroding influence. We need to look at how we do that.

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Eluned Morgan: 'We will come together'

After every campaign, particularly when they're close, there's going to be some people who feel aggreived but I think people are very clear now there is a will to come together and to get on with the job. That's what we do in the Labour party, we focus on the needs of the people of Wales, and that's what I know the First Minister is keen to do when he gets elected later on today

Health minister Eluned Morgan in the final cabinet meeting run by Mark Drakeford (Image: Welsh Government)

Asked about the donations Mr Gething received, she said:

Obviously some people are disquieted by it, but there have been conversations and it's very clear that Vaughan Gehting has said there will be a review of the rules. The rules are the rules, and the rules were followed.

She was asked what the review would look at and she replied: "He has committed to a root and branch review of how these campaigns are enacted".

She was also asked if that included how much money was given and "donations from convicted criminals":

I'm sure all of those things will be rolled into the review and there's been a commitment to that and I think that's something that has helped alleviate peoples concerns . I think people are ready to move on now and I think everyone is in need of a little Easter break, frankly.

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Analysis: What's the mood in the Labour camp

There's definitely some attempts by Labour politicians to move the story on from donations and rows, but it was clear yesterday that as Mark Drakeford took his final acts as First Minister that emotions were high. His speech, during which he was understandably emotional, also left some colleagues and allies tearful.

Some of that is a personal connection. For some they know that it means that their time in cabinet is up, either because they have simply had enough, or because they know Vaughan Gething will look to his own supporters to fill cabinet.

But this morning two Labour stalwarts, Eluned Morgan, who backed Vaughan Gething, and Alun Davies, who backed Jeremy Miles, were both on Radio Wales and asked about the mood in the camp and the donations. It was notable that neither would go on the record to say if any Senedd members had asked for the £200,000 donations from David Neal to be returned, but both spoke of the review into the campaign that Mr Gething has already promised.

They were both pushed as to whether anyone had asked for donations to be returned and while neither confirmed it, neither denied it either.

There's no doubt there are some bruised egos to mend, and some concerns. Vaughan Gething had less support in the Senedd group than Jeremy Miles, and while that has helped his campaign, it doesn't necessarily set him up to get off on the right foot or to form a cabinet.

Once today's formalities are done, we'll be looking to the cabinet reshuffle which could be as soon as tomorrow, or could take longer. There are names flying everywhere, and the rumour mill is in full swing. What seems likely is a shake up of departments, and the huge climate change brief could be divided back up.

But quite honestly, for now, that is all rumours.

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