HUMZA Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon have paid tribute to Mark Drakeford as he prepares to officially step down as First Minister of Wales.

He will tender his resignation to the King on Tuesday afternoon after taking a final round of questions from opposition leaders.

Drakeford’s successor Vaughan Gething will take over on Wednesday and will become the first black man to hold the role.

The National:

Writing on Twitter/X, Drakeford said it had been “an honour and a privilege” to hold the role and thanked everyone for their support.

Responding, former first minister Sturgeon said: “Mark has been an outstanding first minister of Wales.

“Principled, thoughtful, hard-working, he always stood up for Wales and for those in society who most need government on their side.

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“He will be the hardest of acts to follow. I will always be grateful for his counsel and friendship while I was FM, particularly as we led through the toughest of times during Covid. I wish him all the very best for the future.”

Yousaf was also also among those to pay tribute to Drakeford (below), writing on Twitter/X: “My very best wishes to Mark Drakeford. A model public servant who has rightly earned the respect of colleagues across the political spectrum.

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“Mark has been a strong defender of devolution and has always been a friend of Scotland. I wish him all the very best for the future.”

We previously told how Drakeford said Tory ministers were “afraid” of confrontation with Sturgeon during his appearance at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.

He said she was a “formidable politician” and said Tory ministers “would not like to be involved in a confrontational dialogue with her”.