“the process was not inclusive, fair or democratic and this leads to feelings of a lack of trust and confidence in Labour Party procedures.”
- By Labour Outlook’s correspondent
The process by which the Labour Party selected its candidate for Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon was unfair, undemocratic and discriminatory, according to Beth Winter MP.
The sitting Labour MP for Cynon Valley has called for an independent review into the selection process.
I believe that the selection process to decide the Labour candidate for Merthyr Tydfil & Upper Cynon was unfair, undemocratic and discriminatory.— Beth Winter MP (@BethWinterMP) September 20, 2023
I have written to the WEC to request an independent review of the process.
Read my report here: https://t.co/N7hMZXtlNc pic.twitter.com/8mNvbySv7V
Beth Winter was narrowly defeated by frontbencher and current Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney MP Gerald Jones in June.
In a dossier seen by the Welsh Executive Committee of the Labour Party in Wales, Beth Winter alleges that information and explanation were withheld from her ‘at every stage’ of the process, which was ‘pushed through’ in an unusually short timeframe, and at a peak holiday period, for ‘reasons that remain unclear’.
Beth Winter also said that voters were disenfranchised by extremely tight deadlines, and ‘inexplicable’ freeze date, a ‘complete lack of clarity’ and in some cases because they did not have email addresses.
The Cynon Valley MP alleged that the process indirectly discriminated against older members by creating a two-tier system; “those who could vote online and those who could not.” Beth Winter said that this also affected people’s ability to engage in the hustings.
Winter says that in her view, Mr Jones used Labour Party resources in support of his campaign, and that procedural guidance issued by the party was not adhered to.
The Cynon Valley MP also raised concerns with the opaque nature of the controversial Anonyvoter software used by the party and says that she had requested that independent tellers should be permitted to access Anonyvoter. This request was rejected.
Writing to the Welsh Executive Committee (WEC) ahead of its September meeting, Winter said that in her view, the process “was not inclusive, fair or democratic” and that, “this leads to feelings of a lack of trust and confidence in Labour Party procedures.”
She continued “In order to restore some trust in the party, I am of the firm belief that an independent review of the selection process in Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon is now essential.”
It is understood that the WEC discussed the report on Saturday. Beth Winter says that “to date I have received no official information from the WEC on the outcome of that meeting. In my correspondence with the WEC I made it clear that I was requesting an independent review of the selection process, but unofficially I have been advised that the WEC has decided to defer any decision on that request and have, instead, asked that officers who were closely involved in the selection process consider my report and the questions raised by it before any decision on an independent review is made. ”
Beth Winter added: “This makes little sense if the WEC seriously wishes to build trust in the Party, and it begs the question of what they are afraid of if they do not agree to an independent review”.
- Beth Winter is the MP for Cynon Valley and a regular contributor to Labour Outlook, you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and twitter.
- You can read her report on the Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon selection here.
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