A VOTE to allow Welsh Labour’s conference to discuss the war in Iraq and other controversial issues was defeated by the party’s high command yesterday.
Grassroots activists have long argued that rules stating only devolved matters can be discussed at Welsh conferences are an anomaly.
The issue proved highly divisive at the 2003 conference, held just weeks before the invasion of Iraq.
All discussion of the subject was prohibited.
Three local parties, Neath, Cardiff West and Swansea West, put forward proposals to change the rules, but this was rejected by a 3-1 majority.
The activists argued that other parties were able to discuss foreign affairs at their Welsh conferences while Labour was not.
“This conference runs the risk of irrelevance,” said Ann Griffith from Swansea West.
But Graham Smith, a member of the Welsh party executive, said, “It would set Welsh Labour against the rest of the party.”
The party also voted to formalise the use of the name “Welsh Labour”.