Left-leaning Welsh Labour MP says process ‘unfair’ after losing selection bid

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A left-leaning Welsh Labour MP has said the democratic process has been undermined after losing the selection contest for a new seat.

Beth Winter claimed she will be “taking advice and soundings” on her next steps after Gerald Jones was announced as the candidate for Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon.

Proposed boundary changes in Wales mean the two MPs’ constituencies would effectively be merged into one – setting up the two-way contest between them.

It comes amid a row over the decision to block left-wing Labour mayor Jamie Driscoll from running for another role in the North East.

Mr Driscoll said he has not ruled out taking legal action against the party, with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and his counterpart in the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, claiming the move does not seem “democratic, transparent and fair”.

In a statement, Ms Winter said: “In this contest, I sought reselection as Labour’s candidate on a platform of solidarity with striking rail workers, nurses and teaching staff, all of who I have been proud to stand with on the picket line.

“I have campaigned for properly funded public services paid for by taxing the rich, an extension of workers’ rights including a £15 per hour living wage, the renationalisation of our public services and a ‘green new deal’ to deliver a jobs-led economic recovery.

“However, unacceptable obstacles were placed in the way of this grassroots campaign, undermining the democratic process.”

The MP claimed the “online only process” was “bulldozed through” in a matter of weeks without any face-to-face hustings.

“This was not a fair contest, and I will be taking advice and soundings in the days ahead about my next steps,” she added.

Ms Winter has been MP for Cynon Valley since 2019 and is a member of the Socialist Campaign Group parliamentary caucus.

Mr Jones has represented Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney since 2015 and serves as shadow Wales minister.

A spokesperson for the party said: “Congratulations to Gerald Jones on his selection today.

“Thanks to him, fellow candidate Beth Winter and all members across the new constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon for taking part in the selection process.

“It is regrettable that the boundary review meant two sitting Welsh Labour MPs have been forced to stand against one another.

“The selection procedure was designed to give all members across the new seat a chance to take part in selecting their candidate and as a result we saw a very high turnout.”

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