Infighting mars Labour conference

(Title Image: Adrian Masters via ITV Wales)

Despite the prospect of an early UK general election, Labour’s autumn 2019 conference in Brighton was overshadowed by infighting, culminating in an aborted attempt to remove the UK party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson MP, by abolishing the post.

This came days after the UK National Executive Committee (NEC) decided to take control of MP selections in Wales and approved the effective dissolution of a Labour student organisation.

Alun Davies AM (Lab, Blaenau Gwent) accused the NEC – including its Welsh representative, Mick Antoniw AM (Lab, Pontypridd) – of “criminal incompetence“.

There was further muddying of the waters over the party’s Brexit position, with UK Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, preferring to remain neutral in any potential second referendum, while the First Minister of Wales explicitly stated his support for a campaign to stay in the EU. The party adopted Mr Corbyn’s “neutral” position following a show on hands on the floor of the conference.

In the First Minister’s address to the conference, he warned that the UK was unravelling having been torn apart by Brexit and “couldn’t-care-less” Conservative governments. He said: “We need, across these islands, a progressive partnership built on the things we have in common not the prejudices we’re told keep us apart. Our job always has – and always will be – to build common bonds between working people.”

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