A row is brewing on the eve of the Labour conference in Brighton this Saturday after the party centrally decided not to hand Welsh Labour the power to reselect MPs.
Welsh Labour is currently in charge of selections for AMs and MPs, and reselections for AMs.
Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford and his appointee on Labour’s National Executive Council (NEC), Mick Antoniw, had sought to devolve MP reselections as well.
However, Labour’s NEC voted against devolving the power over reselections to Welsh Labour.
Writing to Welsh Labour members, Mark Drakeford expressed his disappointment with the decision.
“I just wanted to send you a quick update on the matter of MP reselections,” he said.
“The NEC today considered a rule change proposed by Mick Antoniw to ensure that, as had been generally assumed prior to last year’s Annual Conference, reselection procedures would be determined by the Welsh Executive Committee (and Scottish equivalent).
“This would have allowed the WEC to decide our reselection procedures for MPs as it does the selection procedures, while opening the way to consistent procedures for AMs and MPs.
“Unfortunately the rule change was not agreed at the NEC today.
“I am deeply disappointed that the NEC has reached this conclusion.
“The WEC was due to consider the issue of reselections at its next meeting on 5th October and I will ensure that we discuss what action we can take to secure this devolution of powers to the WEC in future.
“Meanwhile that meeting on the 5th will need to agree detailed guidelines for implementing the rules agreed by Annual Conference and staff will then liaise with you and your CLPs about the next steps.”
Writing on Twitter, ITV Wales political editor Adrain Masters said that “there’s a feeling that today’s vote suggests that Jeremy Corbyn’s office has decided to impose rules on Welsh Labour which adds to a growing feeling that the office continues to disrespect the only Labour leader of a government in the UK.”
There was also anger, he said, that Mark Drakeford had been given the 9.30am Sunday “graveyard slot” at the conference.