Wales politics

Jeremy Corbyn leadership 'may hinder' Welsh Labour

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn paid tribute to the record of Welsh Labour in his victory speech

Welsh Labour's chances at the assembly election could be hit by Jeremy Corbyn's leadership contest victory, a political expert has claimed.

The veteran left-winger - who started off as rank outsider - won by a landslide over his three rivals.

First Minister Carwyn Jones praised Mr Corbyn for his "impressive" win.

But Prof Richard Wyn Jones of Cardiff University said the Tories will hope it will "make things easier for them" in key marginal seats in May 2016.

The first minister said Mr Corbyn had "energised a huge number of people who were previously disengaged from party politics", although he previously said the Islington North MP would be "an unusual choice" for leader.

Reacting for the Conservatives, Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said Wales was "already a test-bed for Corbynism" while Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said Mr Corbyn's election "cannot alter Labour's dismal record in government in Wales".

Welsh Labour, which holds 30 of the 60 assembly seats, will be hoping to secure a clearer majority in the 2016 election as the party defends its record in office.

But the Conservatives will be hoping to repeat their general election success in capturing the Labour seats of Gower and Vale of Clwyd.

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Media captionProf Richard Wyn Jones said the Tories will hope to capture key marginal seats

Prof Wyn Jones told BBC Wales it was unclear whether Mr Corbyn's election as UK leader would help or hinder Welsh Labour, especially if the party was seen as becoming more left-wing.

"The key question for Labour, and the for next election in Wales, is does Corbyn's victory make it more or less likely that Labour can campaign in key marginals?

"I would have thought that the Tories think that Corbyn's victory makes things easier for them, but we shall see."

There could also be tension between an "extraordinarily inexperienced" Corbyn team and the Welsh Labour government, the academic added.

"Corbyn himself has got no real experience of running anything," said Prof Wyn Jones.

"It's very different being a campaigning backbench MP to facing the kinds of dilemmas Carwyn Jones faces as first minister."

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