Falkirk CLP placed in “special measures” over selection allegations

25th June, 2013 5:57 pm

A Labour Party spokesperson has just confirmed to LabourList that Falkirk CLP has been placed in “special measures” as a result of an NEC investigation into allegations of irregularities in the party’s selection process:

“After an internal inquiry into the Falkirk constituency we have found there is sufficient evidence to raise concern about the legitimacy of members qualifying to participate in the selection of a Westminster candidate. As a result NEC officers today decided a series of measures are needed to uphold the integrity of the Labour Party:

  • The Falkirk Westminster constituency is placed under special measures.
  • The General Secretary will review internal membership procedures and advise on any changes which may be needed to ensure that they are not open to abuse.
  • The freeze date for the Falkirk Westminster parliamentary selection will be set at 12 March 2012.”

12th March 2012 is the date Eric Joyce announced he wouldn’t be standing again.

Update: Unite have released the following statement in response to the party’s decision:

“Unite rejects the decisions taken today by the Labour Party in relation to the Falkirk West selection process. It does so on behalf of the many decent trade unionists who have joined the Party in good faith and are now to be denied any say in the choice of their Labour parliamentary candidate. None of the allegations contained in the report of the so-called “investigation” have been put to Unite in clear breach of natural justice. The intervention by Party officials into this process has been driven by Blairite pressure to exclude trade unionists from any influence in the Party, an ambition clearly spelled out by Peter Mandelson last month. Trade unionists will draw their own conclusions regarding the integrity of the Party’s procedures.”

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  • Simple, put the Labour Party in ‘special measures’ and stop funding them.

    • rekrab

      The SNP would be delighted to be affiliated with Unite and the trade union membership.

      • John Ruddy

        Not sure the members would.

        • rekrab

          Fair dos, although there’ many an SNP official and party member that once stood with labour.

          You’ll be-aware of that old Scottish phrase, if you hang your dirty laundry oot, then all will see it.
          Can’t think of any other party that would sever such a substantial part of it’s membership.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Are there any other parties that allow external groups such as unions or once the Militant Tendency to join en masse at a local level? It may well be a glorious thing, this link with the unions, but it has its’ dangers as well for the Labour Party, if they allow whole constituencies to be hijacked by the “entryist” groups.

            As an outsider, it appears to me that a union has targeted Falkirk as a place to pump up the membership, and get their own candidate selected. And now they have been caught out in doing so, and it is embarrassing – as you say with your example of the laundry.

            I do not think that is illegal, as the national law does not involve itself with membership of political organisations, but it does appear stupid for a political party to leave itself so open to abuse by others.

          • “leave itself so open to abuse by others.”

            Quite right Jaime – that’s exactly how I feel about the Progress Tendency and how it operates within the LP.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Yes Dave. While I’d see Progress as sensible and the sort of thing that should be encouraged, and unions as the pantomime villains and ridiculously socialist and 1970s throwbacks, I completely understand that you take a diametrically opposed position, and if I may suggest, we’d both be correct as viewed from our own perspective, at least as far as the entryism.

            No wonder Ed Miliband appears to me more and more often as the rabbit in the headlights. He doesn’t know which way to turn (because at heart he’s a Westminster wonk and doesn’t have an original idea of his own, and merely chases triangulated votes). But to be fair to him, he leads a Party with the most unfit for purpose party rule book in all of Christendom, and is not helped at all by this sort of nonsense.

          • Can’t agree with you on that one, Jaime. Ed’s not caught in headlights but in back-wash following the failure of the neo-liberal project. Cameron is even more disorientated.

            But Ed is a thinker and not without imagination and energy; of the three leaders, that does make him exceptional.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Leading on from this discussion, you expose a question in my mind. What exactly is the definition of the “neo-liberal project”? It seems to have become a bit of a shorthand for many commenters, but not something that is coherently defined. I confess that I can’t define it, so when I read your comments, or those of others, it is unclear if we are all talking about the same thing.

            At a fundamental level, I think that capitalism has had a bone-shaking bump on the road, but the odd thing about capitalism is that it is so aligned with human nature, it has an ability to reinvent itself and to carry on as before. It is a bit like the cockroaches as a species – they survive just about anything, and scientists study cockroaches as they appear to evolve (Darwinian style) more rapidly than any other species.

          • “the odd thing about capitalism is that it is so aligned with human nature”

            Everything that humans do must, in some way, be aligned with human nature; otherwise humans couldn’t/wouldn’t do it.

            But you only have to think of how capitalism has existed for only a small part of human history to realise that it is not eternal. Other form of societal arrangement existed before it and others will exist after it – if we survive it, that is.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I see it only getting stronger. A different society might have existed before the invention of money or any form of mass / distance communication, but international trade has been with us for a millennium or more, and simply expands, possibly almost logarithmically. You and I converse in near real time on computers made from parts made all over the world, with software written in different parts of the world, and we do so for free because the “middlemen” such as my ISP and your ISP and the website hosting company of LL make their money from advertisements from all sorts of different companies that we might have clicked upon in our browsing history. That is not going to get un-invented.

            Where you are possibly correct is that any of these “service providers” might become bankrupt at any moment, as they exist on the razor-thin margins. But there are many others, and we switch over.

          • rekrab

            Yes? but there is always a human element to consider, basically we not manufactured machines, we’re far more important than that and lets hope humanity and good sense is never replaced by the machine.
            If they threaten you with the sack’ look em in the face and say “I’ll be back” like Arnie! oops.

          • I live near an Iron Age hill fort, occupied in pre-Roman times by a tribe who had their own currency and traded with others from far distant locations. They had money, they had possessions, they traded and they had a rich culture but they didn’t have capitalism. Capitalism is quite recent – 16th centuryish in its earliest forms.

          • Gary Hills

            And where is the proof for that?….

            This silly anti Progress talk is just destructive and serves no purpose. I support Unions, but I do not like the endless attack on Progress that is being waged. Progress are not the evil it’s made out to be, its a forum that starts debate, just like Compass does on the left. There is no difference and both behave in similar ways.

            I do not see the Unions demanding Compass to be scrapped? Now the party has always had many views within its ranks and it has made it strong. but while I believe in unions I disagree that union members are denied access to the selection procedure. That is simply not true and never has been. It is after all members who still decided who represents them at selections because it is they who still have the vote. Not Progress and not the Unions.

            Now I am neither right or left of the party, I sit in the centre with the vast bulk of the UK public opinion. Our enemies are the Conservative Party…not Progress. It’s time the Union leaders stopped trying to assume the British public wants to go back to the past as like it or not the Labour Party is here to represent all of society, not just one section. Unions do need more respect and support but so do difference of views that can lead to solutions within the party. It is called after all democracy.

            The British public are suffering like mad due to the Tories, they do not give a Damn about what the Unions bosses think of Progress, all they want is to see is light at the end of the tunnel. It is only Labour who can offer any, but it will not get a chance if the Unions deliberately keep trying to split the party.

            It is time to for some to grow up and focus on what is important, having a war with Progress is not. Winning the 2015 election is.

          • rekrab

            All labour MP’s and MSP’s along with MEP’s are members of trade unions, so it’s the norm as founded over a century ago.

            Politically, trade unions have played a significant role in the day to day aspects of communities and their needs.

            There are elements of new labour like Mandelson who want to cut those ties with the trade unions, so I guess if you play with words like “entryist” then be sure you don’t look at just one side of a two sided coin.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            See my reply to Dave Stone below.

            It doesn’t matter what additional organisations MPs belong to, their primary loyalty should be to the Labour Party. If you allow someone to become an MP whose primary loyalty is to a different organisation, then you are leaving the Party exposed to nonsense, and not in control of itself.

          • rekrab

            You’ll need to map out what your beef is with the trade union movement and how indifferent you think it is to labour values?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Basically, they should stick to sorting out workplace disputes, and keep their noses out of politics. As should any other organisation.

          • But employers don’t keep their noses out of politics so why should employees?

          • rekrab

            Even if it meant campaigning to end Apartheid or pressuring third world nations to end child labour or helping food banks stock and provide staff or helping the big issue magazine to be successful?

  • John Ruddy

    What is this Falkirk CLP they are speaking of? It doesn’t exist – we organise on Holyrood boundaries…. doesn’t exactly give you confidence.

    • Chilbaldi

      But this selection is run on Westminster boundaries, not Holyrood boundaries. So it makes sense to place the wards that fall into the Westminster constituency into special measures, and “Falkirk CLP” is clearly shorthand for that.

      • rekrab

        Historically it’s uncanny how Falkirk is fast becoming the standard bearer for the peoples choice.

      • John Ruddy

        Then they should name the wards they are putting into special measures. There is no party unit called Falikirk constituency Labour party.

  • Duncan Hothersall

    John is quite right. There are no members attached to the Falkirk Westminster constituency, so any review must be of Falkirk CLP’s successors, Falkirk East CLP and Falkirk West CLP. Selection would be a matter for both of them. I guess the key decision is the freeze date though.

  • ColinAdkins

    I am a Unite member and a supporter of trade unions. Hardly surprising I work for one. However, if the concerns have any foundation then the Party must act by investigating.
    Pity they didn’t take the same approach to Liverpool Wavertree where the current MP, Berger, resided in the house of the outgoing MP during the selection process. Or the cases in the Blair/Brown days where candidates were canvassing members only to find the ‘official’ candidate had beaten them to the punch weeks before the official release of the membership lists. Or we have never got to the bottom of the shenanigans around the pollsters daughter.
    Further the involvement of trade unions only appears to be a concern when they are backing a candidate who the centre do not want. When the AEEU backed Purnell in his seat where were the complaints?
    I know two wrongs don’t make a right. But neither does playing by the proverbial Queensbury rules when the centre is punching below the belt make any sense. I say hoist that petard.

    • Daniel Speight

      Did we ever find out who opened the Erith ballot box in the Labour HQ building?

      • ColinAdkins

        Weren’t she supported by some former bureaucrats some of whom held snr positions.

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  • “all they want is to see is light at the end of the tunnel.”

    But all they’re being offered is a Labour Party that thinks it can achieve credibility by mimicking the failed Tory austerity policies.

    I’ll ignore your straw men, if you don’t mind. However, I do agree: “the party has always had many views within its ranks “, it’s just regrettable that the variety of views haven’t found representation in the HoC. Now why is that…

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