Wales politics

Andrews: Welsh Labour could separate from UK party under Corbyn

Leighton Andrews

Welsh Labour could separate from the rest of the UK party if Jeremy Corbyn remains leader, a former Welsh Government minister has said.

Leighton Andrews said the current Labour leadership election was "very serious" for the party.

He said it would be harder for Labour to make advances in Wales at a general election if Mr Corbyn is re-elected.

Mr Andrews said he would not "rule anything out" and that Welsh Labour "certainly" would be autonomous.

The former Rhondda AM, who is supporting Owen Smith for the leadership, lost his seat at the last assembly election to Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru leader.

Image caption Mr Andrews said the re-election of Mr Corbyn would be "devastating for Labour"

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement programme, Mr Andrews said: "I think if Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected, it'll be devastating for Labour in the next general election, whenever that is called."

Mr Andrews, who was previously Welsh public services minister responsible for local government, said it was "hard to read" what might happen if the existing leader won.

Asked what the reaction to a victory by Mr Corbyn may be, he said: "I certainly think it would be an autonomous Welsh Labour party and I think it could be a separate Welsh Labour party.

"I wouldn't at this point rule anything out," he said.

Mr Andrews said the leadership election was "potentially the last opportunity for British Labour".

"Labour's lost Scotland, it's down to one MP up there, England is a different set of circumstances, but I do think these times are very serious indeed," he said.

He added: "I think it will be harder to make advances if Corbyn is re-elected in Wales at the next general election."

Shav Taj, Wales Secretary of the PCS union said it was "sad to hear of more negative talk of Labour party splits".

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