Welsh Labour executive rejects one member, one vote

Carwyn Jones' successor will not be chosen by the one member, one vote system that elected Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader Credit: PA
  • by Nick Powell

Welsh Labour has drawn up the rules for choosing Carwyn Jones' successor as party leader in Wales. That doesn't mean the First Minister's retirement is imminent but is partly because it's thought best to settle these matters before they're seen as affecting the chances of different candidates.

The issue has also been given added urgency by proposals to elect a deputy leader next year, as well as pressure from the left of the party to move to the one member, one vote system that has twice elected Jeremy Corbyn as UK leader.

Many MPs think it was a mistake at UK level to move away from an electoral college that restricted the members to one third of the total vote, with the other two thirds split equally between members of affiliated bodies (mostly trade unions) and MPs.

The old system (with AMs included as well as Welsh MPs) is still in the party rulebook for choosing the leader in Wales and today the Welsh executive decided to keep it that way.

In fact, the system has been used just once since the advent of devolution -to elect Carwyn Jones in 2009. His predecessor, Rhodri Morgan was elected unopposed but only after two bitter contests before the Assembly was established, when the electoral college was seen as enabling the party machine to block his election.

It's a point that was made by supporters of one member, one vote during Welsh Labour's consultation on whether to change the rules.

Carwyn Jones' departure may still be a few years away but today's decision means that the electoral college will be used next year to fill the new post of deputy leader. Unlike the leader, who must be an AM, the deputy could also be an MP or council leader. But the party must elect a woman -for as long as the leader is a man.