EXCL Kezia Dugdale accuses Jeremy Corbyn of 'undermining' her over NEC seats

Posted On: 
25th September 2016

Kezia Dugdale accused Jeremy Corbyn of “undermining" her after he tried to block plans to give more powers to Scottish Labour, PoliticsHome can reveal.

Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia ugdale at the Scottish Parliament last year
Credit: 
PA Images

The party’s leader north of the Border confronted Mr Corbyn at a fiery meeting of Labour's ruling National Executive Committee just hours after he was re-elected leader.

He had surprised the meeting by trying to postpone moves to put representatives from the Scottish and Welsh parties on the NEC.

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Under the changes, Ms Dugdale and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones will be able to nominate two of their frontbenchers to fill the roles.

But Mr Corbyn believes local party members should elect them instead, and called for a vote on the changes to be delayed until next year’s Labour conference instead of on Tuesday as planned.

It was made clear to the party leader that there was little support for his idea and he dropped it.

A furious Ms Dugdale - who backed Owen Smithin the Labour leadership contest - told him: “How dare you preach unity and then try to undermine me as Scottish leader.”

A Scottish Labour source said: "We do not comment on internal party meetings."

UNITE

Meanwhile, it also emerged today that Unite may vote against the plans on Tuesday – leaving the result on a knife-edge.

Len McCluskey, the union’s general secretary, said he was unhappy that they were being lumped in with around a dozen other rule changes.

He said: “I'm sad that the whole package is being taken together and not separately because many of the rule changes are uncontroversial and we support them.

"We believe there should be a seat for Scotland and Wales, but we believe it should be an elected seat, so there is a slight confusion about what appointed by the leader means.

"It's placed us in a difficult situation because most of the rule changes going through we support."

A senior Labour source said: “The result will be close, but we just need to hold our nerve and defeat Len.”