Wales politics

Labour conference: Welsh delegate booed for Corbyn quip

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Media captionMatthew van Rooyen is booed for saying Jeremy Corbyn is leader 'like it or not'

A Welsh delegate at the Labour conference has been booed after questioning Jeremy Corbyn's appeal as leader.

Matthew van Rooyen, from Bridgend, said: "We have got Jeremy Corbyn as leader, whether we like it or not."

He was speaking during a debate on plans to give Welsh Labour more autonomy from the UK party.

The proposals, which include a Welsh seat on Labour's ruling national executive committee, were passed.

Supporters of Mr Corbyn had opposed allowing Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones to nominate the Welsh representative and wanted that person elected by party members.

Some delegates tried to delay a vote on the proposals, prompting a debate on whether to have a debate.

Mr van Rooyen, speaking at his first party conference, said: "What a shame it is that some colleagues are trying to block it."

The conference chairman rebuked delegates for the response they gave him: "Colleagues some individuals booing there... be respectful to the speakers, you may not agree but be respectful."

Mike Payne from GMB Wales told the conference: "It is time we stopped the prevarication, comrades, and get on with it."

Following the vote to pass the proposals, Mr Jones hailed it as "a significant step forward - not just for Welsh Labour - but the whole Labour movement in the UK".

"Our party structures need to keep pace with devolution, and Wales needs a strong voice at the heart of the party too," he said.

"Welsh Labour is proud to be part of the wider UK Labour family, but that must always be a relationship built on mutual respect."

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Media captionPaul Flynn says some of Labour's "best people" are "sitting on the subs' bench"

Meanwhile Newport West MP Paul Flynn appealed for unity as he addressed the party's conference for the first time since 1981.

The shadow leader of the Commons, who is also shadow Welsh Secretary, said the "bile" of the past year should be buried in a box underground and never re-opened.

Mr Flynn said the media were only interested in rows - "they don't realise the brilliant year we had".

He also urged MPs who resigned from the shadow cabinet for "honourable reasons" to return to the front bench.

"It took courage for many of them to resign, it's going to take greater courage for many of them to come back. and we must make it possible for them to return with dignity and respect," he said.

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