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Corbyn backs First Minister's pay cap refusal

Credit: ITV News, Lauren Doogan

Jeremy Corbyn has backed Carwyn Jones in his refusal to end the public sector pay cap in Wales without funding from the UK Government.

The Labour leader says that taking action in Wales without that commitment on funding could lead to job losses in the NHS.

He's also told me that he agrees with the First Minister's call for the Welsh Assembly to have 'parity' of powers with the Scottish Parliament, but that he's cautious about the transfer of power over the legal system to Wales.

The Welsh Government has come under pressure from political opponents to go ahead with pay rises above the 1% pay cap for NHS workers even without a similar commitment from the UK Government.

Plaid Cymru has said that the cap should be lifted in Wales as soon as possible, even without commitments on funding, because Labour promised to do so in its Welsh manifesto for June's General Election.

The Welsh Government insists that it cannot act without the funding which would follow a UK Government change of policy.

In an interview with me ahead of Labour's conference which is taking place in Brighton, Jeremy Corbyn backed that position.

I want to see the public sector pay cap lifted. The public sector pay cap obviously depends essentially on central government funding of it. So lifting the pay cap in the NHS without funding it means that you pay for it by job losses.

– Jeremy Corbyn MP, Labour leader

On the question of future powers for Wales, the Labour leader told me that he agrees with the First Minister's call for 'parity with Scotland' and says that 'we're consulting on how we bring that about.'

But he's cautious about the idea of creating a separate legal system in Wales, even though Carwyn Jones last week announced a commission to look into the devolution of justice.

Jeremy Corbyn told me:

I'm very happy to discuss with them devolution of the administration of justice and operations of it. I think it's more complex if you start devolving overall law, within that context.

– Jeremy Corbyn MP, Labour leader

When I asked if he were being cautious, he said that 'I want to look at it and discuss it carefully with them.'

In the interview he also joked about claims that there were differences of opinion between him and Carwyn Jones over Britain's access to the single market after leaving the EU.

He revealed that the two men 'shared chips and discussed Brexit' at a cafe outside Bangor in August and decided 'we were in complete agreement.'

You can see my interview in tonight's Sharp End at 1040pm on ITV Cymru Wales.