Wales politics

More powers offered to Welsh Labour to make decisions

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionCarwyn Jones says there is devolution within Labour in the way there has been devolution in the UK

The Welsh Labour party has been offered more power to make its own decisions under plans agreed by the UK party's ruling National Executive Committee.

It agreed to transfer powers to the Welsh and Scottish parties over issues such as Westminster candidate selections, and that both should have a representative on the NEC.

Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones said he was "delighted" by the plans.

The changes are subject to approval at the UK party's conference in Liverpool.

Following a disappointing result for Labour at the 2015 general election, first minister Mr Jones said it was "time for change in the structure of our party to take account of the new politics".

Former Welsh Government minister Leighton Andrews also warned that Welsh Labour could separate from the rest of the UK party if Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected as leader.

Share finances

After several months of discussion, Welsh Labour's ruling body - the Welsh Executive Committee (WEC) - approved plans for greater autonomy at its own meeting earlier in September.

On Wednesday, Mr Jones said more Welsh Labour autonomy was "important progress reflecting the reality of devolution in Wales".

"As devolution matures across the UK it is right that our structures and politics should seek to match it," he said.

"I am delighted that these proposals have been agreed and look forward to them being passed by conference in Liverpool next week."

Labour AM Eluned Morgan said the "long overdue" changes would "correct the travesty where the Tory prime minister of the UK recognised Carwyn as the leader of Wales but the Labour Party did not".

The plans do not amount to a full separation - it is expected Welsh Labour will continue to share finances with the UK party.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDarren Williams says having an AM join the NEC is 'completely unworkable'

If delegates at the Labour conference agree the plan, BBC Wales understands the WEC will consult party members on the details of the proposal, which include:

  • transferring responsibility for the selection of UK parliamentary candidates in Wales to the WEC
  • the WEC would be responsible for the structure of the party in Wales, procedures for electing the Welsh Labour leader, and disciplinary and compliance issues
  • Welsh Labour will be directly represented with voting rights on the NEC by one of the party's assembly members - the decision was approved narrowly by 16 votes to 15

Darren Williams, a Cardiff councillor who sits on the NEC, told the BBC's Daily Politics he voted against the plan to have a Welsh Labour AM sit on the NEC.

He said it was "completely unworkable", as NEC meetings in London clashed with assembly plenary sessions on Tuesday.

"I am in favour of the principle, but I think those positions should be elected by ordinary members," he added.

The NEC also discussed proposals about the formation of the party's shadow cabinet in Westminster.

Having failed to reach an agreement after eight hours of talks, a decision was deferred for further discussion at the weekend.

More on this story