LEADERSHIP VOTING CHANGE FOR LABOUR
WELSH Labour has decided to change the way it chooses its leaders by adopting a “One Member One Vote-Plus” system.
There was a 64% vote in favour of the change. The new method will be used to elect a successor to Carwyn Jones.
Until now, the leader has been chosen by an electoral college split into three sections: MPs, AMs and MEPs; unions and affiliated groups; and party members.
A special conference was held in Cardiff to consider the recommendations of a “democracy review” conducted by former Welsh Secretary and ex-Torfaen MP Paul Murphy.
So far only Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford and Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething have secured the number of nominations required to formally stand for the leadership.
The conference considered two options: 1. One Member One Vote-Plus This allows individual members of the Labour Party and people in trade unions who pay the political levy and members of affiliate bodies to take part in the elections. 2. A Reformed Electoral College This would have kept an electoral college but instead of having a section for politicians it would have been split 50:50 between individual members and people belonging to trade unions and socialist societies.
Jeremy Corbyn was elected UK Labour leader using a OMOV system but there was controversy this year when Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris beat Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan in the Welsh Deputy Leader contest under the rules of the old electoral college. Ms Morgan had more support from rank and file members, and the result triggered memories of how her late husband, Rhodri Morgan, lost the race for the Welsh Labour leadership despite the strength of support for him among the party’s grass roots.
First Minister Carwyn Jones responded to the conference deci- sion: “Welsh Labour has enjoyed a long period of stability during this febrile time in politics. This has enabled us to win elections and to deliver on our promises in Government.
“Today, we have had a mature and respectful debate. We emerge from this discussion without being distracted from our primary mission of standing up for the people of Wales, in the face of this cruel UK Tory Government. I am pleased that we have a Welsh Labour approach, made here in Wales, that recognises the crucial importance of our Trade Unions colleagues in our party.
“Here in Wales we have been in power through one of the most turbulent periods of recent times. We’ve made tough choices, guided by the fundamental values of social justice, of equality, and of fairness that bind us together as members of the Welsh Labour family.
“And it is as this Welsh Labour family that we will continue to work towards our most vital purposes – governing Wales and putting Labour back in power across the UK.”