Labour not imposing candidates, says Doughty

A Labour general election candidate has defended his party's selection process amid criticism that candidates have been "parachuted" into safe seats.

Questions have been raised over the selection of Torsten Bell for Swansea West and Alex Barros Curtis for Cardiff West.

A former member of the Labour Party Executive Committee, Darren Williams, said party leadership had "imposed" candidates on local members with "no previous connections" to their area.

Stephen Doughty, who's standing for Labour in Cardiff South and Penarth, said it was a decision "made in Wales".

"The idea it was somehow imposed from elsewhere is simply not the case," Mr Doughty told Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement.

"There's clear established procedures, particularly when an election is called at such short notice... this was a decision made in Wales, by members of our Welsh executive committee and by local representatives.

"We've got brilliant candidates, they've got brilliant skills, I'm sure they will be first class representatives for Wales.

"I think Torsten and Alex are going to do a great job of doing that for Cardiff, Swansea, and Wales."

Fellow labour candidate, Stephen Kinnock, told Politics Wales that "in the end people want an MP that delivers".

"They want an MP who is a strong national voice and an active local campaigner and that is what both Torsten and Alex will be."

Welsh Labour Grassroots, a group which represents those on the left of the party, said it was deeply angered by what it calls the imposition of the two candidates calling it an "affront to members' democracy".

"With no membership input and no trade union input, two candidates with no links to the area, or to Wales, were imposed from on high," it said.

"We understand that many candidates applied with no interviews given, and Mr Barros-Curtis was imposed by fiat of a few party officials.

"In Swansea West, the case against the outgoing MP has been in limbo for over a year, with the party seeming to not want to resolve it in order to do what they have now done; impose a desired candidate in a ‘safe seat’.

"Voters rightly expect candidates to have links to the area they wish to represent. Voters rightly expect candidates to be decided democratically by local party members.

"These impositions are utterly insulting to every member, and voter, in Cardiff West and Swansea West."

'No Welsh connection'

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun Ap Iorwerth said the appointments were example of "bringing people in from outside Wales with no Welsh connection".

"What you're doing is weakening that area's voice, it's bad for Welsh democracy and reflects badly on Labour and their attitude towards Wales," he added.

The Conservative Party has been asked to comment.

A Welsh Labour spokesperson said it had selected a "fantastic group of candidates".

"They will be campaigning across the country to bring Labour's message of change to voters," they said.

“With the General Election due in just five weeks, the expedited decision was made by a panel comprised of Welsh Labour’s Welsh Executive Committee and representatives from the local Labour Parties.”

The candidates in Swansea West are:

Labour - Torsten Bell

Conservative - Tara-Jane Sutcliffe

Plaid Cymru - Gwyn Williams

Liberal Democrats - Mike O’Carroll

Reform - Patrick Benham-Crosswell

Green Party - Peter Jones

Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition - Gareth Bromhall

The candidates in Cardiff West are:

Labour - Alex Barros-Curtis

Conservative - James Roberts Hamblin

Plaid Cymru - Kiera Marshall

Liberal Democrats - TBC

Reform - Peter Hopkins

Green Party - Jess Ryan

Workers Party of Britain - Akil Kata

The candidates in Cardiff South and Penarth are:

Labour - Stephen Doughty

Conservatives - no candidate announced ATOW

Reform - Simon Llewellyn

Plaid Cymru - Sharifah Rahman

Green Party - Anthony Slaughter

Liberal Democrats - Alex Wilson