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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 April, 2005, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Rebel AM could still fight Labour
Peter Law AM
Peter Law on the day he revealed he had a brain tumour
The ex-Labour Welsh assembly member who dropped plans to fight the party in the election because of a brain tumour has revealed he may still be a candidate.

Blaenau Gwent AM Peter Law said on Friday he was feeling well, only a week after undergoing a six-hour operation.

He also confirmed for the first time he has left Labour, meaning the party has lost its assembly majority.

On Sunday, Mr Law said he would make an announcement about his position on Tuesday, when nominations close.

He also said he had been overwhelmed by the support he had received from the public during a two-hour walk on Saturday in his constituency, Labour's safest Welsh seat.

Previously, he said supporters had been urging him to resume his campaign to become an independent MP.

Mr Law originally decided to stand against the party because of his anger at Labour's use of all-women shortlists to choose a candidate to replace the retiring MP, Llew Smith.

Maggie Jones
Labour chose Maggie Jones from an all-women shortlist

He learned he had a brain tumour only the day before he was due officially to confirm his candidature on Monday, 4 April.

Labour declined to comment on his announcement on Friday.

The fact that Mr Law has left Labour means it no longer has a working majority in the assembly. Labour now holds 29 of the 60 seats.

As for the general election, his new announcement reopens the prospect of a threat to Labour's grip on a seat formerly held by Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS, and ex-party leader Michael Foot.

Labour had a 19,313 majority in the 2001 election, with 72% of the vote, and it is the party's fifth safest seat in the UK.

Labour's candidate in Blaenau Gwent is Maggie Jones, an official with the union Unison. Her selection led to resignations of most of the local party executive.

'Loyal service'

Labour has defended women-only shortlists on the grounds that they are needed to redress the shortage of female MPs.

Reacting to the news that Mr Law has said that he no longer considers himself a member of Labour, a Conservative spokesperson said:"This shows the strength of feeling about the Labour party's obsession with clinging onto power.

"They are willing to ignore strong local opinion and to turn to their back on someone like Peter Law who has given years of loyal service."

A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats said: "The Liberal Democrats wish him well in his recovery and it is a matter for Peter Law to decide whether to stand or not."

Both Labour and Plaid Cymru declined to comment at this stage.




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