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First Minister Mark Drakeford responds to Ann Jones’ decision to stand down as a member of the Senedd

VALE of Clwyd MS Ann Jones has informed her Constituency Labour Party that she will stand down at the Senedd election in May. Ann was first elected in 1999 and has been described as a “one of a kind presence in Welsh politics” by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

The process to select a Welsh Labour candidate to contest the Vale of Clwyd seat will begin shortly.

Mark Drakeford, Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister:

“We owe a great deal of thanks to Ann – both for her service to the Vale of Clwyd constituency, and for her ground-breaking work as a member of the Senedd.

“As one of the first members elected to the Assembly in 1999, she is part of a generation that forged the way for devolution in Wales. With grit and determination, she took through innovative safety legislation to ensure that new homes have sprinkler and fire suppression systems. Ann has been recognised internationally for her advocacy of the rights of disabled people, and as Deputy Presiding Officer, she keeps us all in order in the Senedd Chamber.

“Ann is a one of a kind presence in Welsh politics. As she stands down, we will miss her wise counsel in the Welsh Labour group but know she will continue to make an important contribution to Wales.”

In a statement Ann Jones OBE MS, Welsh Labour Member of the Senedd for Vale of Clwyd said:

“Serving as the first ever representative for the Vale of Clwyd in Wales’ National Assembly (now Senedd) has been the most incredible privilege and honour.

After 22 years, I’ve decided not to seek re-election to the Welsh Parliament.  This decision has been difficult, but I feel now is the right time to step back and allow a new candidate to represent Welsh Labour.”

Reflecting on her achievements, Ann Jones continued:

“I’m enormously proud to have been the first backbench Assembly Member to introduce and pass legislation in Wales.  The law made Wales the first country in the world where sprinklers will be compulsory in all new homes.  This will make new homes safer and save lives.

“Locally, I’ve helped secure millions of pounds worth of funding for new and refurbished schools, essential flood defence works and improvements to housing along with the wider regeneration role across the Vale of Clwyd.

“When I was elected 22 years ago, I pledged that the Vale of Clwyd and its residents would always be my top priority.  I’ve held countless advice surgeries and dealt with thousands of individual queries from constituents and been a regular visitor to schools and community groups within the constituency.

“For the past four years, I’ve been proud to serve as the Senedd’s Deputy Presiding Officer.  It’s given me the opportunity to advocate for people with disabilities across Wales and internationally, through my role with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.”

Ann Jones paid tribute to her staff and local Labour volunteers:
“None of these achievements would have been possible without the support of local Labour Party members and my superb, dedicated team of staff.

“Politics might often be seen as combative and adversarial.  Whilst this can sometimes be true, I’ve worked with people with good, honest intent and a deep desire to change things for the better.  It’s also been a place I’ve forged life-long friendships.

“Whilst I may not be seeking re-election, I’m not retiring from politics.  I’ll continue to support the Labour Party and our chosen candidate.”

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