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Welsh Labour general election candidate ‘tried to switch seats’

29 May 2024 6 minute read
Labour’s Ceredigion Preseli candidate Jackie Jones

Martin Shipton

A Welsh Labour general election candidate wanted to switch seats this week to one where she’d have a much better chance of winning, we have been told.

Cardiff councillor Jackie Jones was selected in September 2023 to be Labour’s general election candidate in the new seat of Ceredigion Preseli.

But according to a Welsh Labour source, she enquired about being the candidate in Cardiff West, whose long-serving MP Kevin Brennan announced unexpectedly on Monday evening that he was standing down.

In line with Labour Party rules, seats where MPs announced their retirement after 5pm on Monday would have new candidates chosen not by the local party, but by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC). That gives the NEC, which is loyal to the party leadership, the opportunity to get people it favours into the House of Commons.

So far, at least six Labour MPs representing safe seats, including Mr Brennan, have announced their decision to stand down after the deadline, taking away the ability of local party members to choose their new candidate and likely MP. It has been suggested that some of them may have been offered peerages in return for vacating their seats.

Considered

A Welsh Labour source told us: “Jackie Jones said she’d like to be considered for Cardiff West, even though she’s been the selected candidate for Ceredigion Preseli since last September. Most of the new seat comes from the old Ceredigion seat, which Plaid Cymru’s Ben Lake won with a majority of more than 6,300 at the last election in 2019 and Labour came fourth.

“Cardiff West, on the other hand, is safe for Labour. Kevin Brennan had a majority of nearly 11,000 in 2019 and there’s no doubt that whoever is selected as the Labour candidate for the July 4 general election will be the new MP. That won’t be Jackie Jones – she’ll have to stick with Ceredigion Preseli.”

The new candidate for the seat will have to be chosen by June 7, when nominations close.

Ms Jones is a qualified barrister and a university lecturer who teaches human rights law. From 2019 to 2020 she was a Member of the European Parliament representing the whole of Wales, and in 2022 she was elected as a councillor to represent the Whitchurch ward on Cardiff council. A passionate supporter of the UK’s membership of the EU, she has chaired the Wales for Europe campaign group.

‘Chaos’

On her campaign website Ms Jones states: “After 13 years of Conservative government chaos, the UK is crying out for change. Labour can win in Ceredigion Preseli to achieve a Labour government in Westminster. Plaid, LibDems or the Tories cannot deliver for the constituency in government. Only a Labour MP in a Labour government will bring the investment, fresh vision and vision for a brighter future in Ceredigion Preseli. As a councillor, former MEP and activist of many years, I have the experience to win Ceredigion Preseli for Labour and be a strong voice as its Member of Parliament.”

She states: “My father’s family is from the fishing village of Llangwm, Pembrokeshire. This area has been home to me since I can remember and was where I spent my formative years.

“I currently work as a lecturer in law and speak to young people all the time about their vision for our future. Ceredigion has a large university population and I am best placed to get them out to campaign and vote. With my campaign, we can finally bring real change to Ceredigion Preseli and remove the Tories from Westminster and the Nationalists from west Wales.

“Only a Labour MP in a Labour government can deliver the change needed to bring investment into Ceredigion Preseli. Plaid and the Lib Dems cannot deliver this needed change. I will run an energetic campaign and deliver the win we need to build a fairer Ceredigion Preseli.

Setting out her priorities for the constituency, she lists these pledges:

* More affordable housing for local people to rent and buy;

* Investment in public transport for an integrated network of affordable, low-carbon transport across west Wales;

* Creating green jobs that are well-paid and rejuvenate local communities;

* Tackling climate change, including investment for renewables, making Wales and the UK one of the greenest countries in the world;

* Enhancing broadband connectivity across West Wales;

* Ensuring the Welsh language and culture are protected.

* Co-operation in action: buying local and shortening food miles.

Huw Thomas

Ms Jones’ website includes an endorsement from Cardiff council leader Huw Thomas, who himself stood unsuccessfully in Ceredigion in 2015. He states:: “As leader of Cardiff council, I have worked with Jackie for many years, as an activist, as an MEP for Wales, and now as a local councillor. Jackie is a great campaigner, a winner of elections and a team player. She is a clear thinker, who also gets things done, and is especially expert in the field of human rights. She represents her constituents excellently.”

A Labour insider said – “This is pretty odd, I’ve never heard of anyone switching seats when an election has been declared. The timings on this one point to Labour HQ having someone in mind, and it’s unlikely that person would be Jackie Jones. There is real concern that we will end up with a candidate that would have had no chance of being selected if local members had a vote.”

A Welsh Conservative source said: “I have never heard of anything like this happening before – certainly so close to an election. If this is right, it sounds as if personal ambition matters a lot more than service to the community. Obviously, from a would-be Labour MP’s point of view, Cardiff West is a much better bet than Ceredigion Preseli. But once you’ve been selected as a candidate for a particular constituency, surely the right thing to do is to stick with it and campaign in the seat where you’ve been selected.”

A Plaid Cymru source said: “Keir Starmer is renowned for his screeching U-turns. If these reports are true, it looks as if it’s contagious.”

We sent a detailed message to Ms Jones and asked her to respond. She has not done so.


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Richard
Richard
19 days ago

Party 🎉 Time

My great Grand Father was from
Pontrhydygroes and wife from Gwdîg – can I Stand ?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
19 days ago

‘Remove the Nationalists from West Wales’…

Plaid take note, the people of West Wales take note…

you don’t belong there apparently…

Alun
Alun
18 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Where are they going to deport us to?

David Pearn
David Pearn
13 days ago
Reply to  Alun

An independent Wales.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
19 days ago

LP sharing out the constituencies among themselves with Westminster in total control. Clearly democracy in its true form is dead. Plaid is a vote for Wales all the other parties are a vote for subjugation by England

John Ellis
John Ellis
19 days ago

I spent a quarter of a century as an activist in local politics. I wasn’t then living in Wales, but that really makes no difference: I learned from that experience that absolute burning ambition to achieve office can utterly consume a certain sort of personality, and that they’ll do a great deal – without too much scruple – to achieve what they aspire to achieve. You don’t have to be Welsh for that!

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
19 days ago

Only in their dreams can Labour win in Ceredigion. I think that as Ben Lake is a very good constituency MP that he will win the day. He has a loyal following that isn’t necessarily your usual Plaid supporter – he’s that good. This Labour parachutist hasn’t exactly done her chances of winning in the constituency, has she, wanting to shift to Cardiff West. I suspect that the voter will remember…

hdavies15
hdavies15
19 days ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

I hope they do, in droves ! This type of careerist is the last thing they want in any constituency.

Why vote
Why vote
19 days ago

Promises of representing a constituency in Parliament standing for that constituency then jumping in to a different lifeboat, be sure of your footing you might get wet.

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