First Minister Mark Drakeford has given his first interview since winning the Senedd Election and spoke about Labour's huge win, his plans and the lack of impact independence had in the campaign.

He said he thought rumours his party could take Rhondda back off Plaid Cymru was felt "too good to be true" and was delighted when Labour's Buffy Williams ousted former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.

In his first interview since his party outperformed even its own expectations, Mr Drakeford had said he would not serve the whole next five years as First Minister, but said today he will stay until the job is done.

Mr Drakford said he expects coronavirus to be the biggest job for the next 12 months, but said he plans to remain as First Minister beyond that date.

Labour won 30 seats in the election, a much higher total than expected. It means the party has a working but not overall majority.

He said he will discuss a formal working arrangement with all the other parties who take seats, but would, if no formal arrangement can be met, look to work with parties who have similar interests on specific items.

He promised that he will make progress in health, education and the economy in the next Senedd.

See how we covered the election counts live with all the reaction as it came in. And see all the constituency and regional results from around Wales on our dedicated results page.

The full interview with Mark Drakeford

First Minister, congratulations, tell us how you're feeling this morning. This must feel like a huge validation of everything you've been doing over the past 16 months or so of this pandemic

Well, I think on the doorstep there was a very strong validation of the way things have happened here in Wales.

I've absolutely lost count of a number of people would have said to me and to other Labour Party campaigners, we're so glad we lived in Wales over the last 12 months, we feel we've been kept safe here in Wales.

It was such a repeated theme on the doorstep but I do think the result reflects all of that. But it also reflects the really hard work that the Labour Party and our campaigners and workers have put into the campaign over the four weeks of it, the short campaign, as it's called.

First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford smiles after winning the Cardiff West constituency
First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford smiles after winning the Cardiff West constituency

You've faced a lot of criticism and difficult questions of your handling over the pandemic over the last year. Do you feel this is a validation for you and everything you've done?

I think what people said to me when out there talking to people is that the difficult decisions, looking back, people see why they were necessary.

At the time people don't have access to the same information that I get to see and they don't go through the same lengthy debates that we go through with our advisers and as a cabinet before we come to a decision.

But I think later on when people see what was happening, then they feel our decisions were the right ones. I think that's that's absolutely fine, isn't it? To see people reflecting on it and thinking, well, we might not have been too happy at the time. But we understand now why it was the right thing to do.

I'm told last night that as the headline victory in Rhondda came in it was quite an emotional moment in the Labour Party HQ as that came in.

Absolutely. You know, Rhondda is a totemic seat for us, isn't it as a Labour Party and to lose it is a bruising thing to happen.

So to be able to win it back...I mean, I've been to Rhondda a lot of times in the campaign, and from the very beginning, it seemed just like a little bit too good to be true.

But I didn't want to believe it was as good as it seemed, because you don't want to build your hopes up too much.

But I was there on the Tuesday of polling day, and it was like a revivalist meeting going from door to door. You know, you have people coming to the doorstep calling other people out, wanting photographs.

There was a really strong spirit of people feeling they were coming home to the Labour Party.

Captain Beany and First Minister Mark Drakeford bumping elbows
Captain Beany and First Minister Mark Drakeford bumping elbows
First Minister Mark Drakeford
First Minister Mark Drakeford

That was felt very personally nice given the year, you've had everything that you know, has happened a lot you've put on the line as well.

Of course, it does. I've said I thoroughly enjoyed the campaign. The very first day that we went into Porthcawl, you get out of the car and you've no idea really what the reception is going to be like. But on our very first day we had a really warm reception.

People wanting to come across and talk to you, people wanting to tell you their stories of how they themselves had managed, have you had your vaccination, were you alright after? All of those doorstep conversations were very warm.

Of course you take a you do take a lot of strength from that.

You're back in government and things are definitely not going to get any easier. You've said all along, this is going to be to be a long five years. There's obviously huge waiting lists, there's big questions about schools, and we don't know the long term impacts of Covid. What promises can you give to the people of Wales to reassure them about their future?

Well, on the things that you mentioned specifically, they were all there in our top six pledges that we made at the very start of the campaign.

The biggest ever catch up programme in our schools for our children and young people have missed out so awfully over the last 12 months. 1,800 new members of staff to help with that. A real focus on mental health and well being to help young people come out of the pandemic.

For those young people who will be leaving school and university and college this year, a guarantee of a job or training or education, to make sure that as the economy recovers, and there are some more encouraging signs of the speed at which the economy will recover, but really determined that that will not be a wasted period in the lives of our young people.

And then for the NHS a billion pounds set aside over the term as a down payment on what will be needed to get the NHS back on its feet.

It won't just be money, it will be staff, the people working on the NHS have been on that frontline day in day out and they will need some time to recover as well.

And then innovation, making sure that all the things the health service has done so quickly to cope with coronavirus that we don't lose that culture of getting things done quickly and doing things differently because to get the health service back on its feet, it can't just be trying to go back to how things were before coronavirus ever began.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and his wife, Clare Drakeford, leaving St Catherine's church hall polling station
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and his wife, Clare Drakeford, leaving St Catherine's church hall polling station

So can you promise people that if the pessimism or that the worries they have about those things, you're going to make that better in the five years?

Yeah. And I think we can offer people that promise. All our energies will be focused, first of all, on getting this through the rest of coronavirus hasn't gone away. There are dangers that we just got to be alert to.

There are new variants, the reimportation of a virus from elsewhere in the world.

So first of all, let's get us through it and not throw away everything we've achieved together and then a real ambition to set Wales on a different sort of path, fairer, stronger, greener. All the things that people tell you when you're up there talking to people that they want.

A future in which their young people can be proud to be in Wales can have a future here in Wales, and in which Wales plays our part in dealing with the other great crisis of our time, but climate emergency.

You've been very honest that you don't expect to serve another five years as First Minister. Obviously, there's already talk about what the next five years ago look like, as you sit here today, how long do you plan on being First Minister of Wales?

Well, the first thing is, is that I want to complete the job.

I'm not putting artificial times around it.

I hope that coronavirus will become over the next 12 months something that we deal with in the way that we deal with the flu, it's not going to disappear but we find a way of living with it.

I want to make sure that that job gets done and the job of setting Wales on that ambitious new path with the energy and the enthusiasm that I feel for everything that we've got in our manifesto and then the time will come beyond that, when it would be right for somebody else to take on the responsibility and get themselves known to the public in Wales.

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford poses for a photograph during campaigning on May 4, 2021 in Bridgend
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford poses for a photograph during campaigning on May 4, 2021 in Bridgend
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford walks past a terraced house during campaigning on May 4, 2021 in Porth
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford walks past a terraced house during campaigning on May 4, 2021 in Porth

So you're not going anywhere for the next 12 months, at least?

Oh, look, I'll be around for more than 12 months.

As we speak, you're on 30 seats and we wouldn't expect you to pick up any of the remaining regionals seats. That isn't quite the majority that you need to work comprehensively so will you be looking to other MSs, maybe Jane Dodds of the Lib Dems or Greens if they pick up a seat to give your Government an outright majority?

We we will have conversations with other parties, all other parties.

I'm happy to work with any party on an issue that we have in common.

So even the Conservative Party has been enthusiastic about a new Clean Air Act for Wales and we are committed to a clean air act.

So where there's any common ground with any other party I will want to make sure we do that. No party has a monopoly of good ideas.

Is that in terms of you'd work with parties on individual issues rather than going into an agreement such as you did with Kirsty Williams?

I'm committed to exploring whatever arrangement we could have and if it's possible to reach a more stable agreement I think that will be in Wales's interests.

But we don't even have all the results in yet.

Even if we did get ourselves to a position where there were 31 votes that we could rely on in crucial votes like a budget, that would not, for me mean that we wouldn't then continue to work with other parties where there is some common ground on specific issues between us.

The election result seems to suggest that Plaid's focus on independence wase a mistake and it was out of tune with what lots of people were talking about. Is that how you see the results in say Rhondda, Blaenau Gwent and the other Valleys seats

Well, what I can say to you absolutely honestly is that having gone to you know more than three quarters of the constituencies in Wales and knocked doors everywhere not a single person on the doorstep asked me about independence and that included a large number of people who said that they were thinking about voting for Plaid Cymru.

They were not voting that way because they thought that Wales will be better off taken out to the United Kingdom. In all my experience, it had no resonance at all.