Candidate selection remains in limbo

Len McCluskey
Len McCluskey

A fresh start in the search to find someone to fight to become Falkirk’s next Labour MP could be months away.

The original selection process to select a candidate to contest the seat at the 2015 General Election was suspended last month to allow the party to investigate allegations it had been fixed by the Unite union to ensure its preferred candidate Karie Murphy won the contest.

Following the probe into claims Unite had effectively bought votes by paying for as many as 100 of its members to join Falkirk Constituency Labour Party, the national executive placed it under ‘special measures’ and ordered an inquiry into the entitlement of members to take part.

In the interim Ms Murphy and Stephen Deans, chairman of Falkirk CLP and Unite in Scotland have both been suspended.

This week a Scottish Labour spokesman said: “As yet no timetable has been put on the selection. The party is holding a wider inquiry into its relationships with its trade union members. This is expected to be completed in the next few months and could have a bearing on any future selection process.”

Unite continues to deny any wrong-doing and called on Labour to renew its connection to working people. On Saturday, General Secretary Len McCluskey told the Durham Miners’ Rally: “The Labour Party must understand it can only exist if it remains the voice of the ordinary working people. That is what Unite was fighting for in Falkirk, to give the working class a stake in our democracy.”