New First Minister Vaughan Gething announces cabinet

Vaughan Gething's new cabinet outside the Welsh government's Cardiff headquarters
Vaughan Gething's new team contains nine women and five men

Wales' new First Minister Vaughan Gething has named his cabinet, calling it a "stellar ministerial team".

His defeated rival for the Welsh Labour leadership, Jeremy Miles, previously at education, takes over from Mr Gething as economy and energy secretary.

Lynne Neagle, the former deputy mental health minister, is promoted to education, and Huw Irranca-Davies joins the cabinet as climate change and rural affairs secretary.

Eluned Morgan remains health secretary.

Health is widely considered to be the toughest department to run and Mr Gething told BBC Wales that she was the only person he had offered the job to, after suggestions it had first been turned down by Mr Miles.

Conservatives predicted that Mr Gething's cabinet, announced a day after he was confirmed as Wales' new first minister and Mark Drakeford's successor, would "simply deliver more of the same in Wales".

Plaid Cymru said his team needed the "conviction to turn the tide on Labour's record in Wales".

Mr Gething has chosen to return to a previous practice of calling his senior ministers cabinet secretaries.

Cabinet graphic
Cabinet graphic

Clwyd South Member of the Senedd (MS) Ken Skates, one of Mr Gething's key backers during the leadership campaign, returns as north Wales and transport secretary.

Lesley Griffiths, who was embroiled in a row over proposed farm subsidy changes, moves from rural affairs to become culture and social justice secretary.

Julie James, previously climate change minister, takes over the local government and housing brief.

Rebecca Evans loses her role overseeing local government, but keeps control of the Welsh government purse strings, as finance, constitution and cabinet office secretary.

Mr Miles's responsibilities will also include the Welsh language.

Newport West MS Jane Bryant joins the government as minister for mental health and early years.

Speaking on the steps outside the Welsh government's Cardiff headquarters, Mr Gething promised that "this stellar ministerial team will answer the call of the generation in wanting to create a stronger, fairer, greener Wales".

"We will strengthen our economy by providing opportunities for everyone whilst being steadfast in our commitment to a just transition to net zero," he said.

"We will strive to give every young person the very best start in life and today, we renew our focus on the first thousand days in a child's life, building a Wales when no future begins with a childhood blighted by poverty.

"All of us here believe in a Wales that recognises we can celebrate our differences and take pride in all those things that draw us together and make us who we are."

He said he was "ambitious about the work that this team will do to make Wales an even better place - a Wales full of optimism, ambition, and unity".

Speaking to BBC Wales later, Mr Gething said: "I really am pleased that Eluned is rejoining the government to lead our health and social care system.

"For two new ministers to support her, I think it's a great team to help take Wales forward.

"But there are real challenges in the brief, challenges about resources, challenges about the demand we see coming to our service since the pandemic."

The first minister said Mr Skates will complete the review into the Welsh government's 20mph policy and acknowledged the challenges faced by Huw Irranca-Davies, the new climate change and rural affairs secretary.

"It is really important that we recognise the strength of feeling around the future of farming and how to support it.

"Not if, but how to support it, to do that in a way where the production of high quality food and drink is at the top of our agenda.

"And indeed we do that in a way that meets our climate challenges and nature challenges too. I think Huw comes with real credibility on all sides of that debate.".

Conservatives dismissed it as a "continuity cabinet that will simply deliver more of the same in Wales".

Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Conservative group in the Senedd, said: "We had hoped that Vaughan would use the chance of a clean slate to scrap Labour's vanity projects and focus on fixing our broken public services, but it's clear that he has no intention of doing that.

"While Labour would rather continue to spend precious time, energy and resources putting more politicians in Cardiff Bay, the Welsh Conservatives will focus on the people's priorities."

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said the new cabinet "must quickly satisfy the people of Wales of its competence and credibility and demonstrate the required conviction to turn the tide on Labour's record in Wales".

"The scourge of child poverty, growing waiting lists, falling educational standards and a faltering economy demand fresh thinking and fast action.

"Today must also be a turning point in the government's approach to scrutiny. Ministers who are willing to open themselves up to critical challenge and the ideas of others will ensure better government for the people of Wales."

Additional reporting by Karl Necke