Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd is refusing to comment on a decision by the Labour party to press ahead with a selection process in her constituency despite her change of mind about standing down.
The move has been interpreted by some as an attempt to block Ms Clwyd from restanding because of her high-profile criticism of the way NHS complaints are dealt with. But party sources say it's a routine procedure triggered by her previous decision to quit.
Party activists in the Cynon Valley had earlier refused to take part in the selection process because of the requirement to use an all-women shortlist. Senior figures said they had a good record of choosing female politicians unlike other constituencies which were still allowed open selections.
The party's National Executive Committee will decide whether or not to uphold or reverse the decision when it meets tomorrow (Tuesday.)
But a Welsh Labour spokesman says the selection process will go ahead in the Cynon Valley.
Under established procedures a full selection takes place where a sitting MP announces their intention to stand down. The selection will begin later this month.
Welsh Labour chiefs say they won't back down in the row over all-women shortlists with activists in the Cynon Valley. I reported yesterday that the party's NEC insisted that members must choose a woman to succeed Ann Clwyd despite representations from the local party.
Now a Welsh Labour spokesperson has also defended the decision, explaining why it's considered to be so important:
Welsh Labour leads the way on fair representation in Parliament, the Senedd and council chambers up and down Wales. This is something that we are very proud of, but know there's more we can do. We make absolutely no apologies for seeking to ensure fair gender representation.
The current state of affairs is not acceptable; women are vastly under-represented in parliament with Wales having just seven women MPs compared with thirty-three men.
The Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who has represented the constituency of Cynon Valley since 1984, says she is "proud" to have been elected, after announcing that she will stand down at the next general election.
I am particularly proud to have been elected in the constituency of Keir Hardie and the first woman to be elected in an industrial seat in Wales.
The miners who always gave me their backing I hope would not be disappointed.
I will continue to speak out on domestic and international affairs,especially on human rights.
The Labour MP Ann Clwyd is to stand down at the general election.
Ms Clwyd, 76, has represented the South Wales constituency of Cynon Valley since 1984.
She has been a long-standing campaigner for human rights and more recently on standards in the NHS following the death in hospital of her husband, Owen Roberts.
There’s speculation about whether Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd will stand again at the next election after a local party vote was halted.
I've been sent an email by the local party’s Secretary to all members telling them ‘the trigger ballot has been suspended.'
This is the mechanism by which the local party decides whether or not simply to re-select the sitting MP.
In his email, the Cynon Valley secretary says ‘A statement will clarify the situation on Monday and I would be grateful if you are willing to wait for this statement to explain the situation.'
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