Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Ex-MP linked to union cash inquiry

LESLIE Huckfield, former Labour MP and MEP, has been named as a link man in a dossier of charges being investigated in the militant left Merseyside division of the Transport and General Workers' Union.

His alleged involvement as a 'facilitator' to win European Union funding totalling pounds 53,000 for an unauthorised seminar in Dublin is detailed in a secret report to the TGWU executive council leaked to the Independent on Sunday. The money was later moved to an unofficial account.

Bill Morris, the transport workers' leader, has set in motion a high-level investigation into various allegations of wrongdoing in the union's north-west region. It will be carried out by Albert Blyghton, legal secretary of the TGWU.

Three full-time officials have been named in the dossier presented to the union's executive three days ago. They are: John Farrell, regional secretary for general workers; Tom Hart, regional education secretary; and Eddie Roberts, a Liverpool-based divisional organiser. All face possible suspension or dismissal if the charges are upheld.

Under the heading 'Education Budget and Euro Funding', the dossier registers 'serious concern' about the funding of a works council seminar held in Dublin. Deputy General Secretary Jack Adams had verbally reported that 'an application had been made to fund this seminar in the name of the T&G apparently with L Huckfield acting as facilitator.

'The course was organised allegedly without the knowledge of the regional administration . . . the central education department had no knowledge of either funding of the course or its organisation.

'Brother Jack Adams addionally reported to the (executive) council that the application for funds to Europe resulted in the sum of over pounds 53,000 being paid into a shop stewards' account and almost immediately transferred to an account called the Dubin Astra account.'

Mr Huckfield, aged 51, was formerly MP for Nuneaton, and then MEP for Merseyside East until he was de-selected. He could not be reached for comment last night.