Wales politics

Morgan, Wilcox and Harris in running for Welsh Labour deputy

Debbie Wilcox, Julie Morgan and Carolyn Harris
Image caption Debbie Wilcox, Julie Morgan and Carolyn Harris are trying to get enough support to enter the deputy leadership race

Three Welsh Labour politicians are bidding to become the party's first deputy leader, BBC Wales can reveal.

Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan, Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris and Newport council leader Debbie Wilcox are trying to get enough support to enter the race.

Party rules say the post must go to a woman if the Welsh Labour leader is a man.

The winner will be announced at the Welsh Labour conference in April.

Nominations open on 9 February.

Candidates need 12 nominations from Welsh Labour MPs, AMs and MEPs to get on the ballot paper, with the support of at least three AMs and MPs.

Mrs Morgan said: "I was a councillor for 12 years, an MP for 13 years and now an AM for more than six years".

She added: "I think I am in a good position to bring all parts of the party together and to work closely with the members."

Ms Harris said the deputy leader should be a "campaigning role within the party".

She said: "I've got a head full of ideas, a heart full of compassion and I've got a mouth that's not afraid to speak up and speak out."

Ms Wilcox said she was "very good at leading teams" and said that, "particularly after the tragic events of last year, which Labour is still reeling from... we have to move forward in a compassionate and caring way".

"This sense of unification is what I'm about", she said.

Image caption Carwyn Jones's cabinet is divided over the rules for leadership elections

The winner will be chosen through the party's electoral college, not in a one-member-one-vote election (OMOV).

The contest comes while there is a growing backlash within Welsh Labour over the rules for leadership and deputy leadership contests.

In a row that has split Carwyn Jones's cabinet, there are calls to scrap Labour's so-called electoral college and adopt OMOV.

Welsh Labour's executive chose to stick with the college last year, despite it being scrapped for UK and Scottish Labour leadership elections.

Supporters of OMOV want to overturn the executive's decision at the party conference.

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