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Friday, April 29, 2016

Corbyn told to stay away from Wales as anti-semitism row rages

Welsh Tories have taken every opportunity during this Welsh Assembly campaign to describe Wales' biggest political party as 'Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party'. That decision looks to have paid off today as a scheduled visit to Wales by the Labour leader was cancelled. allegedly because he was asked to stay away.

The Western Mail reports that Mr Corbyn was due to visit Bridgend College in Pencoed with First Minister, Carwyn Jones, but it was agreed he would stay out of Wales after discussions between his team and Welsh Labour officials.

The paper says that the team around Carwyn Jones are understood to be angered by Mr Corbyn’s perceived dithering before action was taken against Bradford West MP Naz Shah and Mr Livingstone.

They add that Welsh Labour’s National Assembly election campaign has been built around projecting Mr Jones as a strong national leader. His team believe that Mr Corbyn’s failure to act swiftly after offensive comments made by Ms Shah on social media were revealed:

A source close to the Welsh Labour election campaign said: “We’ve made the campaign about strong leadership and Carwyn’s unique position as the only credible First Minister.

“That’s a difficult sell with Jeremy and particularly after the last 24 hours.”

There are understood to be no other plans at present for Mr Corbyn to visit Wales before polling day on May 5.

The cancellation of Mr Corbyn’s visit is the most glaring example yet of tensions between Welsh Labour and the Corbyn leadership in London.

While most, if not all, of Welsh Labour’s headquarters officials did not back Mr Corbyn in last year’s party leadership campaign, they have not engaged in overt action to undermine him.

But the anti-semitism row, coming so close to an Assembly election where the party’s campaign has been based very largely on Mr Jones’ image as a leader, has been, for his team, the final straw.

Whether such action is enough to protect Welsh Labour from the fall-out in next week's election will have to be seen.
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