Wales politics

Labour 'could lose assembly seats under Jeremy Corbyn', MP claims

Jeremy Corbyn
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn in Tredegar, campaigning for the Labour leadership

A Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn could struggle to keep key marginal seats in the 2016 assembly election, senior Welsh Labour figures have said.

Islwyn MP Chris Evans said there was huge concern and Aberavon AM David Rees warned there could be party infighting following a victory by Mr Corbyn.

Mr Rees stressed the dangers of appearing disunited to the electorate.

Other sources expressed worries about what it could mean in a number of seats in south and north east Wales.

Labour currently holds 30 of the 60 assembly seats.

Mr Evans, who supports Liz Kendall in the contest, believes she and the other candidates, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper, still have a chance of winning.

But in relation to a potential win for Jeremy Corbyn, he said: "The real concern for Welsh Labour is how this is going down in seats like Cardiff North, the Gower, those marginals that we lost in the general election.

"It will be tough. The electorate has moved somewhere to the centre and Jeremy Corbyn will move the Labour party to the left.

"We need a robust Welsh Labour manifesto which shows we are in touch with the needs, hopes and aspirations of Welsh people."

"At the end of the day Jeremy Corbyn could be leader of the Labour party in Britain however Carwyn Jones has been first minister of Wales and has been doing that job for the past five years, and we will be judged on that record."

Image caption Chris Evans warns it would be a tough assembly election for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Rees said he did not have as much concern about Mr Corbyn's policies as others because of the socialist tradition in Wales, but warned: "If people start fighting as a consequence that will harm our chances."

Mr Corbyn's leadership bid won support from Welsh Labour Health Minister Mark Drakeford earlier this month, who said he was the candidate whose views most closely reflected his own.

The result of the contest is due to be announced on 12 September.

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