Gerald Jones defeats Beth Winter for new seat candidacy
A contest between two sitting Welsh Labour MPs for the right to stand as the party’s candidate in a new Parliamentary seat has concluded in victory for Gerald Jones.
Mr Jones, currently the MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, defeated Cynon Valley MP Beth Winter by 231 votes to 215.
He will now stand in the new Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon seat at the next general election, expected next year. The two constituencies have effectively been merged as part of the reduction in the number of MPs representing Wales from 40 to 32.
Mr Jones is a former deputy leader of Caerphilly council and serving Shadow Wales Office Minister while Ms Winter is the only Welsh Labour MP who belongs to the left wing Socialist Campaign Group.
In a statement, Ms Winter said she was “disappointed by this very close result and the unjust manner in which it came about, which leaves major questions outstanding”.
“In this contest, I sought reselection as Labour’s candidate on a platform of solidarity with striking rail workers, nurses and teaching staff, all of who I have been proud to stand with on the picket line,” she said.
“I have campaigned for properly funded public services paid for by taxing the rich, an extension of workers’ rights including a £15 per hour living wage, the renationalisation of our public services and a ‘green new deal’ to deliver a jobs-led economic recovery.
“However, unacceptable obstacles were placed in the way of this grassroots campaign, undermining the democratic process.”
The MP claimed the “online only process” was “bulldozed through” in a matter of weeks without any face-to-face hustings.
“This was not a fair contest, and I will be taking advice and soundings in the days ahead about my next steps,” she added.
Welsh Labour said it was “regrettable” that a boundary review meant two sitting MPs were forced to compete against one another but defended the selection contest lost by Ms Winter.
A spokesperson for the party said: “Congratulations to Gerald Jones on his selection today. Thanks to him, fellow candidate Beth Winter and all members across the new constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon for taking part in the selection process.
“It is regrettable that the boundary review meant two sitting Welsh Labour MPs have been forced to stand against one another.
“The selection procedure was designed to give all members across the new seat a chance to take part in selecting their candidate and as a result we saw a very high turnout.”
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