Socialist Worker

Challenge to New Labour in Wales

by Jen Davies
Issue No. 1950

“A vote for anyone else will let the Tories in” has been a theme of Labour’s national campaign. That’s desperate anywhere — but it reaches new depths in South Wales’s Blaenau Gwent, the seat centred on Ebbw Vale.

This is the constituency that returned Aneurin Bevan and Michael Foot. At the last election Labour got 22,855 votes, while the Tories scraped 2,383.

Labour’s desperation is a result of the fear that the Blairite candidate Maggie Jones could be defeated by Peter Law, a local Labour stalwart and Welsh assembly member.

Peter decided to stand as an independent after Labour insisted on an all women shortlist for the constituency. His campaign has become a focus for many of us fed up with Blair.

Eight of the 12 members of the Blaenau Gwent Labour Party executive resigned after Jones, a Unison union official, was selected.

Labour has a big problem with the lack of women MPs, and I am for positive discrimination for women.

But the answer to such issues should not be to sideline a popular activist in favour of someone who played a central role in helping the Labour’s leadership expel the RMT rail union and George Galloway.

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Thu 5 May 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1950
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