LABOUR SELECTION ROW: Party’s election co-ordinator quits

Mr Watson resigned in a letter to Labour leader Ed Milliband
Mr Watson resigned in a letter to Labour leader Ed Milliband
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The row over selecting Labour’s candidate to replace MP Eric Joyce at Westminster is now reverberating across the UK.

The party’s General Election co-ordinator Tom Watson resigned today saying it was “better for the future unity of the party”.

Mr Watson’s office manager, Karie Murphy, was been the preferred candidate of the Unite union, which has now become embroiled in a controversy over the selection process.

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It was accused of trying to ‘fix’ the outcome by recruting members so they could vote for the candidate it wants, but hit back claiming it had done nothing wrong.

In a letter to Labour leader Ed Milliband, Mr Watson said he was not quitting because of “unattributed shadow cabinet briefings around the mess in Falkirk ... though they don’t help”.

Shortly after the resignation was announced, it was reported that the party had suspended Falkirk party chairman Stephen Deans and Ms Murphy.

It is also said to have suspended the scheme under which unions could sign up members to the Labour Party and pay the fees on their behalf.