GWENT'S Welsh Labour AMs and MPs have revealed who they are backing in the race to be the party's first ever deputy leader.

Welsh Labour will appoint its first deputy leader at its spring conference in April. The role must be filled by a woman as long as the party leader, currently first minister Carwyn Jones, is a man.

Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan and Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris are in the running for the role.

Among those backing Mrs Morgan is Newport West MP Paul Flynn, who said she "combines all the best qualities of a socialist politician - unselfish, compassionate, resourceful and practical".

"Firmly rooted in the Welsh Labour Party, she is a uniquely qualified as a team player to strengthen the fine work of the party in Wales which has benefited all us for the past 30 years," he said.

Both Newport AMs, as well as Islwyn's Rhianon Passmore, are also backing Mrs Morgan.

Newport East's John Griffiths said: "Having working with Julie I know she's got all the abilities to do a really good job."

He added: "I think her politics are very good. She's left of centre which fits with my own views and she's got a lot of experience."

Meanwhile Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds has backed Ms Harris.

“Having been first elected to Parliament in 2015 alongside Carolyn, I have seen at first-hand her tireless campaigning on issues such as domestic violence, problem gambling, pension inequality and child burial fees," he said.

"Indeed, I am proud that Torfaen Council responded so positively to Carolyn’s campaigning on child burial fees by abolishing them locally.

"Carolyn links Welsh Labour and UK Labour - I am happy to support her campaign.”

His Assembly counterpart Lynne Neagle is also supporting Ms Harris.

She said: "She's a formidable campaigner in the proud tradition of Welsh Labour. I think she will do a fantastic job in speaking up for party members across Wales."

Blaenau Gwent's AM and MP Nick Smith and Alun Davies, as well as Wales MEP Derek Vaughan, are backing Ms Harris.

Mr Smith said: “I backed Carolyn as she’s a great campaigner for Labour".

Islwyn MP Chris Evans has not announced who he is backing.

Newport East MP Jessica Morden is not formally backing either candidate due to her role as a party whip.

Although Newport City Council leader Cllr Debbie Wilcox had previously said she planned to run for the role, she was unable to secure enough nominations. She is now backing Mrs Morgan.

The winner will be chosen through the electoral college system, through which one third of the vote is allocated to party members, while AMs, MPs and MEP Derek Vaughan account for another third and trade unions and affiliated bodies are responsible for the remainder.

Calls to introduce a one-member-one-vote system, which was used to elect Jeremy Corbyn, were refused.

Mrs Morgan, who is the widow of former first minister Rhodri Morgan, served as Cardiff North MP from 1997 until 2010, and was elected to the Assembly in 2011.

Ms Harris was first elected as Swansea East MP in 2015.