Falkirk Labour selection process moves ahead as row rumbles on

Party ruling has angered Labour's biggest backers
Party ruling has angered Labour's biggest backers

The process to select a Labour candidate for the Falkirk seat at Westminster in 2015 will move ahead - but come under major scrutiny by the party.

Bosses have confirmed there will be an all-women shortlist but also made it clear anyone who was not a member of Falkirk Constituency Labour Party before the middle of March will not participate.

A probe was ordered over claims the Unite union had recruited dozens of its members to Falkirk CLP to clinch the ticket for its preferred candidate.

Yesterday (Wednesday) a Scottish Labour spokesman confirmed: “After an internal inquiry requested by the Scottish Labour Party into the Falkirk constituency, sufficient evidence has been found to raise concerns about the legitimacy of members qualifying to participate in the selection of the Westminter candidate. As a result NEC officers decided a series of measures to be taken in conjunction with the Scottish Labour Party to uphold the 
integrity of the 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 they are not open to abuse. The freeze date for the Falkirk Westminster parliamentary selection will be set at March 12, 2012.”

Unite has hit back at the results of the investigation. A spokesman said: “On behalf of the many decent trade unionsists who have joined the party in good faith and now being denied any say in the choice of their Labour parliamentary candidate, Unite rejects the decisions taken by the Labour Party in relation to the Falkirk selection process.

‘‘None of the allegations contained in the so-called ‘investigation’ have been put to Unite in a clear breach of natural justice. Trade unionists will draw their own conclusions.”