Welsh Labour Leadership bust-up: Row erupts as candidate slams union over unfair treatment

Welsh Labour Leadership bust-up: Row erupts as candidate slams union over unfair treatment

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GB News
Hannah Woodward

By Hannah Woodward

Published: 26/01/2024

- 20:58

Updated: 26/01/2024

- 20:58

The candidate claimed the ‘new rule’ made his nomination void

One of the candidates to be Wales’ next First Minister says he is speaking out in the “principle of fairness” after a “new rule” by Wales’ largest union rendered his nomination ineligible.

Education and Welsh Language Minister Jeremy Miles who has had strong support thus far said after the Unite union hustings on January 16, the political committee were made aware of a new rule.

The rule, which he says was not declared when upon his invite to the nomination hustings, made his nomination void and left Vaughan Gething, Wales’ economy minister the successful candidate by default.

Miles added that to date, he has not seen any evidence that said rule exists for the purpose claimed.

Jeremy Miles

Jeremy Miles claimed the new rule made his nomination void

Getty Images

The pair took part in a nomination hustings for Unite on January 16.

On January 24, it was confirmed that Economy Minister Vaughan Gething received the backing of Unite in Wales.

A spokesperson for Vaughan Gething’s campaign said: “We’re proud and honoured to welcome Unite’s nomination for Vaughan Gething for Welsh Labour leader and First Minister of Wales.”

However, in a statement released late this afternoon, Miles said: “I participated in the Unite the Union nomination hustings for the Welsh Labour Leadership on Tuesday, January 16. Both candidates for the leadership spoke and answered questions.


“During the discussion held after the hustings by the political committee to nominate their preferred candidate, I understand they were told for the first time that I was ineligible to be nominated by the union due to a new rule that no one was aware of, had not been published and which hadn’t been applied previously.

“The political committee was then prevented from voting to express a view on the candidates, in light of this new rule.

“This new rule was not declared when I was invited by Unite to attend and participate in the nomination hustings.

“Neither was it referred to during the hustings. After the hustings concluded, the leadership of Unite failed to mention it to me.

“To date, I have not seen any evidence the rule even exists for the purpose claimed.

“Members will rightly expect that rules to nominate a candidate for the next leader of our party and our government should be transparent and be applied fairly.

Vaughan Gething

Vaughan Gething became the successful candidate by default

Getty Images

“A longstanding trade unionist has said to me: if this can happen to a candidate for Welsh Labour leader, and First Minister of Wales, how will lay members wishing to progress in the union be treated? This is a fair question.

“The support I’ve gained in this contest is based on hard work in the Senedd and with local Government since I was first elected in 2016.

“There are those who may feel others are more entitled to support because they have been around longer. Everyone is entitled to their view. But the way to express their view is through the proper democratic process.

“I’m standing to lead an inclusive Government in a nation where opportunities are open to everyone.

“I have an ambitious programme that includes defending and extending workers’ rights, and the urgent fight to protect high-quality jobs - things that the majority of Unite members and officials stand for.

“I did not want to make a statement like this, but so many union members have made it clear publicly that they are deeply unhappy with the way the nomination has been made. I am standing up for the principle of fairness and equal treatment, as any good trade unionist would.”

Unite Wales has been approached for comment

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