Welsh Labour leader to be shut out of meetings to decide party’s UK manifesto

The First Minister. Picture: National Assembly.

The leader of the Welsh Labour Party is set to be shut out of future meetings to decide the party’s General Election manifesto.

First Minister Carwyn Jones had said that he was “delighted” when the rules were changed at the 2016 conference to allow the Welsh Labour leader to attend what is called the ‘Clause V’ meeting.

However, that decision to allow the Welsh Labour leader’s attendance is now expected to be reversed at September’s conference.

Under the current rules, the leaders of both Welsh and Scottish Labour are present at what is called the ‘Clause V’ meeting to decide the manifesto’s contents.

However, the party’s democracy review has proposed changing the party’s constitution so that only the National Executive Committee, the shadow cabinet and trade union representatives attend the meeting to decide what is in the manifesto.

Proposals from the democracy review will be voted on at the party conference at the end of September this year, but are widely expected to be approved.

A nominated representative from Welsh Labour will still be able to attend the Clause V meeting due to his or her presence on the National Executive Committee. That representative is currently Alun Davies AM.

However, the reforms proposed by democracy review also include making Scottish & Welsh seats on the NEC elected by their respective national conferences.

As a result, the Welsh Labour leadership’s chosen representative would no longer be guaranteed a place.

The democracy review could reverse changes made in 2016 that:

  • Gave the leader of Welsh Labour the right to attend Clause V meetings
  • Gave the Welsh Labour Party direct representation with voting rights on the NEC by a front bench member of the Welsh Assembly

At the time of the changes in 2016, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “Greater autonomy for Welsh Labour is important progress reflecting the reality of devolution in Wales.

“As devolution matures across the UK it is right that our structures and politics should seek to match it.

“I am delighted that these proposals have been agreed and look forward to them being passed by conference in Liverpool next week.”

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