Wales politics

Labour leadership: Freedom call for Welsh party

Labour general election campaign event in Ammanford in 2015
Image caption Carwyn Jones (right) says more autonomy will help the party keep its support in Wales

Welsh Labour should have more freedom to develop a distinctive identity under its next leader, First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

He said a "confident, authentic Welsh Labour brand" has helped the party avoid a repeat of its fate in Scotland.

Mr Jones also said sniping between the rival camps in the leadership election was a "gift" to Labour's opponents.

The first minister has not publicly backed any candidate, but said Jeremy Corbyn would be "an unusual choice".

'Right structures'

Writing on the New Statesman's website, Mr Jones said: "In the coming months and years we will want more freedom to develop our own Welsh Labour identity, and I look forward to hearing more from the leadership candidates about how they can support us in this."

He said Labour needed "the right structures to grow the party in an increasingly federal UK".

Image copyright Jeff Overs/BBC
Image caption Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham are the four contenders

The first minister also appealed to the party to pull together, saying a description of Blairites as a "virus" was "totally unacceptable and has no place whatsoever in civilised political discourse".

The term was used by Dave Ward, boss of the Communication Workers Union, a supporter of left-winger Mr Corbyn, who will be campaigning in Wales next week.

Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall are the other contenders to succeed Ed Miliband as Labour party leader.

The winner, chosen by a vote of party members, will be declared on September 12.

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