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Catrin Haf Jones,BBC News

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Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank, has been announced as Labour’s candidate for Swansea West

Welsh Labour is facing questions from local members about general election candidates being “parachuted” into “safe seats”.

Some local party members have raised concerns about being kept in the dark during the selection process.

Ceri Evans, a Labour councillor in Swansea, said the process “flies in the face” of assurances made by party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Welsh Labour said its Welsh Executive Council and local members were part of the panel for choosing candidates.

Two new candidates were announced in Welsh seats yesterday – Torsten Bell for Swansea West and Alex Barros Curtis for Cardiff West.

But constituency Labour Party members in both those seats have said they were not informed ahead of the announcement.

One member in the Cardiff West constituency, who wished to remain anonymous, said they had been given “no input to the decision at all”.

“We weren’t told anything about the process beforehand.”

Mr Evans, a member in Swansea West, said the process “flies in face of assurances by Keir Starmer that all MPs will be decided by Constituency Labour Parties.”

‘Questions for leadership’

“That clearly hasn’t happened here. It can’t be a coincidence that the candidate here is from London,” Mr Evans added.

“The wishes of Swansea West members are not being considered at all in this process.”

Another member told BBC Wales that the “role of the constituency Labour parties are being eroded and there are questions for the Welsh leadership on their impact on this decision making process.”

Alex Barros-Curtis, who has been chosen to stand in Cariff West, grew up in north Wales and has served as the UK Labour Party’s executive director of legal affairs.

Torsten Bell, the candidate chosen for Swansea West, is chief executive of the economic think tank the Resolution Foundation and a former labour treasury adviser.

Getty Images Vaughan Gething with Angela RaynerGetty Images

First Minister Vaughan Gething joined UK Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner at Welsh Labour’s general election campaign launch in Llandudno last week

In May, Mr Bell wrote an article in the Guardian arguing in favour of lifting the UK government’s two-child benefit cap, saying scrapping it would “immediately lift about half a million children out of poverty.”

This is despite the current UK Labour policy to keep the cap.

Plaid Cymru MS Sioned Williams said: “When Labour candidates are parachuted into Welsh seats, the least voters should expect is transparency on where they stand on important issues.

“Keir Starmer is notorious for wanting every Labour candidate to sing from the same hymn sheet and Mr Bell should come clean on whether his loyalty to the Labour whip is more important than his independence of thought.”

Announcing the selection of both candidates, Welsh Labour said: “We’re pleased that despite the expedited process, the panels were formed by representatives from the Welsh executive committee and local members.

“Torsten brings a wealth of experience in economic policy and tackling child poverty. He will be real champion for Swansea West.

“Alex has extensive legal experience and is a campaigner for social justice issues.”

The Conservative Party has been asked to comment.

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

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