MAGGIE JONES, the woman who lost Labour's safest seat in Wales after a bitter row over all-women shortlists, is to become a member of the House of Lords.
News of Ms Jones' elevation to the peerage, which has not yet been officially announced, was included in a list of names leaked by political sources.
In May's general election, Ms Jones was heavily defeated in Blaenau Gwent by Peter Law, the constituency's popular AM. Mr Law had been robbed of the chance to stand as the Labour candidate by party officials, who decreed that the Blaenau Gwent candidate had to be a woman.
Party members in the seat voted not to campaign for Maggie Jones, and many of them backed Mr Law when he went ahead with his threat to stand as an independent. After the election, 20 were expelled by the party.
Weeks before the election Mr Law underwent a life-saving operation to remove a brain tumour. On election day, he turned a Labour majority of more than 19,000 into one of more than 9,000 for himself.
Mr Law's departure from Labour has had much wider political consequences in Wales. Rhodri Morgan has lost his majority at the National Assembly, and the combined opposition has inflicted a number of defeats on the administration, most notably in rejecting top-up fees for students domiciled in Wales.
Ms Jones, who has worked for the public sector union Unison for many years, was until recently a member of Labour's National Executive Committee. She lives in Brighton.
Peter Law's predecessor as Blaenau Gwent MP, Llew Smith, said about the award of a peerage to her, "This doesn't surprise me - I took it for granted that this would happen.
" It proves once and for all that the issue was never about gender, but about imposing a Blairite clone on this constituency. If Maggie Jones was not a Blairite clone, she wouldn't be going to the House of Lords now.
"I've no idea what place she will put in her title, but I would be very surprised if it had anything to do with Blaenau Gwent."
Dai Davies, the former Ebbw Vale steelworks union convenor who is Peter Law's agent, said, "From people in the trade union movement I have spoken to, there was apparently a feeling in some quarters that she had fought a good campaign.
"How that squares with losing Labour's safest seat in Wales, I'm not sure.
"The word is that she's getting this for services to the union movement and to the Labour Party. I'd be very interested in seeing the details of what this work actually amounts to.
"So far as I am concerned, this is an insult to the many people in Blaenau Gwent and elsewhere who have worked tirelessly for their union, the Labour Party and their general community. It proves that patronage is alive and well."
Maggie Jones told the Western Mail, " This is a leak and I never comment on matters of that kind."
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