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Welsh Labour Senedd members rally behind Jeremy Miles for leadership bid

A MAJORITY of Members of the Senedd (MSs) have thrown their weight behind Jeremy Miles, expressing their support for him to become the next Leader and First Minister of Wales.

Overnight, eight influential MSs publicly declared their endorsement for Jeremy Miles, who currently serves as the Education and Welsh Language Minister. The group urged him to formally announce his candidacy for the leadership, marking a pivotal moment in the unfolding political landscape.

The key figures endorsing Miles include Mick Antoniw MS, Welsh Labour Counsel General & Minister for the Constitution & MS for Pontypridd; Julie Morgan MS, Welsh Labour Deputy Minister for Social Services and MS for Cardiff North; Lee Waters MS, Welsh Labour Deputy Minister for Climate Change & MS for Llanelli; Jenny Rathbone MS, Welsh Labour Member of the Senedd for Cardiff Central; Carolyn Thomas MS, Welsh Labour Senedd Member for North Wales; Rhianon Passmore MS, Welsh Labour Senedd Member for Islwyn; John Griffiths MS, Welsh Labour Member of the Senedd for Newport East; and Mike Hedges MS, Welsh Labour Member of the Senedd for Swansea East.

This wave of support for Miles extends beyond the Senedd, with additional endorsements from the Deputy Minister for Social Partnership Hannah Blythyn, Bridgend MS Sarah Murphy, and former Welsh Labour Government Minister Alun Davies.

Julie James MS, one of the first ministers to back Miles, commented on the nominations, emphasising the careful consideration taken by Senedd members in selecting a leader. James expressed confidence in Miles, stating, “It is the view of a majority of Welsh Labour Members of the Senedd that Jeremy Miles will be a great leader of the party and a fantastic First Minister of Wales.”

Notably, this surge of support means that Jeremy Miles now commands the backing of the majority of Welsh Labour MSs, Welsh Labour Government ministers, and the entire 2021 intake of Welsh Labour Senedd members.

To further boost Miles’ candidacy, five high-profile parliamentary candidates have also pledged their support. These candidates, on track to become Welsh Labour MPs at the upcoming General Election, include Kanishka Narayan, Andrew Ranger, Claire Hughes, Gill German, and Jackie Jones.

Miles is expected to make a formal statement on Monday, officially declaring his entry into the race for Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister. However, it’s noteworthy that Mark Drakeford and Chief Whip Jane Hutt will not nominate a candidate due to their positions in the government.

The Senedd Labour Group, comprising 30 members, plays a pivotal role in this leadership race. In the 2018 election, Mark Drakeford secured 58.6% of the total number of Welsh Labour MSs who nominated a candidate. In the current contest, Jeremy Miles has garnered the support of 60.71% of the total number of Welsh Labour MSs nominating a candidate, marking a significant step towards his leadership aspirations.

Vaughan Gething, Wales’ Economy Minister, entered the leadership race shortly after Mark Drakeford’s announcement of stepping down in March. Gething has already secured his place on the ballot, enjoying support from eight Labour MSs, including government ministers Rebecca Evans, Dawn Bowden, and Lynne Neagle. His campaign is co-chaired by Newport West MS Jayne Bryant and former economy minister Ken Skates, with backing from other prominent figures like Caerphilly MS Hefin David, Cynon Valley’s Vikki Howells, and Mid and West Wales MS Joyce Watson.