Wales politics

Owen Smith MP: Labour leadership ambitions?

Owen Smith MP

Welsh Labour MP Owen Smith has told a political magazine it would be an "incredible honour and privilege" to lead his party in the future.

But the shadow work and pensions secretary said there was no vacancy at the top and Jeremy Corbyn would take Labour into the next general election.

The Pontypridd MP's comments came in an interview for the New Statesman.

Cardiff Central Labour MP Jo Stevens told BBC Wales she would like to see him in the post in the future.

Mr Smith told the magazine: "I don't think there's any vacancy right now.

"But I think any politician who comes into this to want to try and change the world for the better, starting with their own patch and working outwards, I think they're either in the wrong game or fibbing if they don't say, 'if you had the opportunity to be in charge and put in place your vision for a better Britain would you take it?'

"Of course, it would be an incredible honour and privilege to be able to do that."

But Mr Smith reiterated support for his leader: "He won a stonking great majority. Jeremy is going to be taking us into the election in 2020. End of."

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Media captionCardiff Central MP Jo Stevens says her Labour colleague is 'very, very talented'

Quizzed about the comments on Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme, Jo Stevens said Mr Smith was not "out on manoeuvres" and putting himself forward to replace Mr Corbyn.

"Owen is someone who doesn't dodge questions. He was asked the question and he answered it honestly - and all credit to him for doing that," she said.

Ms Stevens was herself promoted to the Labour front bench this week, following resignations over shadow cabinet sackings during the Labour reshuffle.

She said her colleague was a "straight talking man", adding: "He doesn't think there is going to be a leadership vacancy."

Ms Stevens said: "Would I see him as a future leader? I think he is a very, very talented politician and I'd like to see him leader of the Labour Party in the future."

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