Party clears union but Falkirk rows continue

The probe into vote rigging id over
The probe into vote rigging id over
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The probe into alleged vote-rigging to select a Labour 
candidate for Falkirk at the next General Election is over.

The Labour Party said on Friday there had been no wrongdoing by the union Unite, or its members Stephen Deans and Karie Murphy.

But last night (Wednesday) Pat Rafferty, its top official in Scotland, hit out at the way the pair are still being treated.

Mr Rafferty said: “In recent days it has been disgraceful. The media continue to report events based on malicious comments made by some involved in Falkirk who are pursuing their own ill-conceived agenda. Such reports are not intended to inform the public but are a deliberate effort to besmirch the reputation of Unite itself.

“Those making these comments do not have the wishes of the people of Falkirk, not of Scottish Labour or even accuracy, at heart.

“But their allegations and assertions - which are wrong - impact on real people’s lives and are putting jobs and reputations at risk.

“Unite will challenge any inaccurate reports, particularly those containing any suggestion that the union or its representitives intimidated witnesses into changing their statements to the party.”

Labour officials said on Friday that key statements had been withdrawn by witnesses.

It has left senior Falkirk Councillor Linda Gow, a hopeful for selection as candidate to replace disgraced ex-LabourMP Eric Joyce in the general election in 2015, concerned.

She said: “Why would people make claims and then suddenly withdraw them? It doesn’t make sense. We should see what is contained in the original report.”

The row blew up in June over claims that funding a recruitment drive in Falkirk was Unite’s way of getting the votes needed to make sure Ms Murphy won the selection.

During the investigation Falkirk CLP was placed under ‘special measures’ and Ms Murphy and CLP chairman Stephen Deans were 
suspended. Both have now been reinstated.

Ms Murphy has said she will not contest the candidacy in the interest of ‘reconciliation and unity’.