EXCL Carwyn Jones defies Jeremy Corbyn over NEC seats row

Posted On: 
26th September 2016

Carwyn Jones today hit out at Jeremy Corbyn's plan to delay moves to give Wales and Scotland more seats on Labour's National Executive Committee.

Carwyn Jones (left) told Jeremy Corbyn he was wrong over NEC seats for Wales and Scotland
PA Images

The Welsh Labour leader told an early-morning meeting of the NEC that the changes must be voted on by delegates at Labour's annual conference tomorrow.

Mr Corbyn - who was also at the meeting - wants the vote put on hold for another 12 months.

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A Labour source said: "Carwyn Jones spoke out and told Jeremy in no uncertain terms that the vote must happen tomorrow."

Speaking to PoliticsHome after the meeting, Mr Jones insisted he did not confront Mr Corbyn directly at this morning's meeting.

But he added: "We have devolution in Wales and Scotland. We've waited years for these changes. They need to go through this week."

It is understood that Mr Corbyn did not speak at this morning's meeting, and the issue was not put to a vote.

Under the proposals - which were backed by the NEC last week - the leaders of the Scottish and Welsh Labour parties would each be able to appoint one member to the NEC.

Mr Corbyn fears the move would give his opponents a guaranteed majority on the NEC and wants party members in Scotland and Wales to elect the new representatives instead.

At an NEC meeting on Saturday night - just hours after he was resoundingly re-elected Labour leader - Mr Corbyn was defeated in a his first attempt to delay the conference vote.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale told him: "How dare you preach unity and then try to undermine me as Scottish leader.”

PoliticsHome understands that Mr Corbyn and his allies spent yesterday putting pressure on the GMB to support his position, in a move which could help tip the balance in his favour.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey yesterday gave a clear hint that his union will back Mr Corbyn.

He said: "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."