First Minister Carwyn Jones has welcomed plans to transfer more powers to Welsh Labour. The plans have been approved by the party's National Executive Committee and it's expected that they will be passed by the Labour conference in Liverpool next week.
The powers include control of candidate selection and the process for choosing Welsh Labour's leader. The full package is as follows:
- The Welsh Labour Party to be directly represented with voting rights on the National Executive Committee by a front bench member of the Welsh Assembly.
- Welsh Labour Leader to attend the joint meeting of the Shadow Cabinet and NEC that agrees the Westminster election manifesto (known as the Clause V meeting).
- Welsh Executive to administer the procedure and selection of Westminster Parliamentary Candidates in Wales.
- Welsh Executive to manage and administer selection of candidates for the Assembly and local government in Wales.
- Welsh Executive to set procedural rules for the election of the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Welsh Labour Party.
Mr Jones was himself chosen by the same electoral college system as the one used to choose UK leaders until Ed Milliband changed it to the one that elected Jeremy Corbyn. If, as expected, Mr Corbyn beats Owen Smith and remains Labour leader, the changes will make it harder for him to influence the selection of Westminster candidates in Wales.
It's likely to be a fraught process because of the drastic cut in the number of Welsh MPs and radical redrawing of constituency boundaries that's due to happen before the 2020 election. There's also speculation that Mr Corbyn's supporters will try to take the opportunity to deselect some of his critics.