Wales politics

Carwyn Jones steps in on Labour devolution row

Carwyn Jones Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Carwyn Jones wants to counter claims that Welsh Labour is just a "branch" office of the UK party

First Minister Carwyn Jones has intervened to ensure plans to give Welsh and Scottish Labour more power will be put to a vote at conference.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) has voted to include representatives of Labour leaders in the two nations.

Allies of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have opposed the move, arguing the post should be elected and not appointed.

But sources said Mr Jones gave a "powerful address" to the committee on Monday urging it not to let Wales down.

In an interview with BBC Wales, Mr Corbyn said: "I'm not resistant to the idea of there being a Welsh member of the NEC at all.

"What I want to do is have agreement within the party about how the nomination should take place to the NEC so it enjoys the confidence of the executive and so on in Wales."

The devolution reforms would give the Welsh and Scottish Labour parties control over issues such as Westminster candidate selection, disciplinary matters and election of their respective leaders, as well as seats on the NEC.

Amid attempts to block the package, the first minister is understood to have stressed to the NEC on Monday that Welsh Labour was the most successful arm of the party, having governed Wales ever since devolution in 1999.

He is said to have urged members not to "water down" the reforms, claiming they countered nationalist claims that Welsh Labour was little more than a "branch" office of the UK party.

The proposals will now be put to a vote on the floor of the Labour party conference in Liverpool on Tuesday.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale told the BBC: "Exactly what we agreed yesterday is exactly what is happening tomorrow in a vote on the conference floor.

She added: "The proposals are very clear that the position on the NEC is for the leader of the Scottish and Welsh parties to either take themselves or to nominate, just as Jeremy Corbyn nominates the people that sit on the shadow cabinet that sit in the NEC."

Darren Williams, a Cardiff councillor who sits on the NEC, told BBC Wales on Wednesday he had voted against the plan, saying he would prefer the Welsh representative to be elected by rank-and-file members.

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