Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford today announced his resignation after five years in office.
Mr Drakeford announced his departure at a news conference in Cardiff on the fifth anniversary of the day he first became First Minister.
During a rollercoaster half-decade in power, Mr Drakeford saw his popularity surge as he led Wales through the Covid crisis.
But his approval ratings have since slumped amid continued woes for the NHS in Wales and the controversial imposition of widespread 20mph limits on Welsh roads.
At the beginning of this year, Mr Drakeford was struck by tragedy when his wife Clare died suddenly.
He spent most of 2020 isolating from Clare in a hut in their garden in order to keep her and her elderly mother safe while they were shielding during the Covid pandemic.
Mr Drakeford’s exit follows tensions with Labour’s national leader Sir Keir Starmer, who recently admitted to ‘challenges’ in his relationship with the Welsh administration in Cardiff.
Sir Keir has also attempted to backtrack from a past claim that Mr Drakeford’s Welsh Government would be a ‘blueprint for what Labour can do across the UK’.
The Labour leader today hailed Mr Drakeford as a ‘titan’ of Welsh politics, but Sir Keir’s spokesman wouldn’t say whether he was sad to see the First Minister go.
Mr Drakeford was first elected to the Senedd in 2011 as the Member for Cardiff West.
He served in various ministerial roles from 2013 under the leadership of Carwyn Jones, before succeeding Mr Jones as First Minister and Welsh Labour leader in December 2018.
When the Covid crisis hit in early 2020, Mr Drakeford and other devolved leaders – such as Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon – saw their popularity soar as they led their nations through the pandemic.
Mr Drakeford followed both then-prime minister Boris Johnson and Ms Sturgeon in holding daily TV briefings.
He often found himself at odds with Westminster over what level of pandemic restrictions to impose, as all four nations pursued their own Covid rules.