Plaid Cymru Westminster candidate stokes row over Labour’s general election selection process
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster candidate for the Caerphilly constituency has criticised the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate selection process.
Councillor Lindsay Whittle, who is the leader of the Plaid Cymru group on the council, compared the Labour Party to “Big Brother” after Chris Evans, the current MP for Islwyn, was chosen as Labour’s candidate for the Caerphilly seat by the Welsh Executive Committee (WEC).
The Welsh Executive Committee (WEC) is made up of representatives from each section of the party, including MPs, Senedd Members, councillors, trade unions and Constituency Labour Parties (CLP).
“Surely the Labour Party in Caerphilly had someone willing to stand for the seat. So I can understand the fury of those in Caerphilly which forms the overwhelming part of the new constituency.
“It is very much ‘Big Brother’ knows best from the Labour Party.
“The Islwyn MP has hardly distinguished himself since he was elected. While the Labour Party in Wales is really selling Caerphilly short, it is anti-democratic to impose a candidate without a selection meeting. But I guess they are acting on the orders of their bosses in London.”
According to a letter sent by Caerphilly Constituency Labour Party (CLP), there is tension amongst local members at the selection of Mr Evans, as they did not have an opportunity to vote during the selection process.
The letter said: “The CLP wishes to place on record with WEC [Welsh Executive Committee] the dismay and anger felt at the way it has been treated with apparent contempt in this matter.
“It respectfully asks WEC to address the CLP concerns on this matter and restore the rightful expectation of members in Caerphilly CLP to be afforded a democratic selection process, albeit with some shortlisting guarantees.”
Wayne David, who is the current Member of Parliament for Caerphilly, announced last year he would be retiring at the next general election.
Mr David said: “It’s always going to be a bit difficult due to boundary changes. [Chris Evans] is a sitting member with a good track record and I’m sure he will represent the constituency well if elected.”
Mr Evans declined to comment on his selection when approached by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
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