Labour's NEC forced to defuse selection rows

PATRICIA WYNN DAVIES

Political Correspondent

Labour's ruling national executive committee was yesterday forced to take action to defuse bitter rows over parliamentary candidates in three constituencies.

Despite an internal party investigation into the Swindon North selection which cleared a candidate of ballot-rigging, an NEC panel will re-interview all five applicants on the original shortlist.

The move follows a High Court action by Jim D'Avila, the unsuccessful AEEU-backed candidate, who cried foul when he was defeated by Michael Wills in September. A report on the complaint, finding no evidence to back it up, was subsequently amended so as to be neutral between the two.

On the second troublespot, Glasgow Govan, the NEC refused to endorse Mike Watson, currently MP for Glasgow Central, who beat Mohammad Sarwar, a district councillor, by just one vote for the selection.

The NEC ordered an organisational and development committee panel to investigate alleged balloting discrepancies and report in March. A re- run of the selection is expected around Easter time.

The committee meanwhile launched a formal investigation into John Lloyd, who has already been endorsed as the prospective Labour candidate for Exeter.

The investigation will consider whether Mr Lloyd "misled' party officials over his past involvement in terrorist activities against South Africa's apartheid regime in the 1960s.

Yesterday's meeting formally agreed to end direct trade union sponsorship of parliamentary candidates and MPs and replace it with a system of sponsoring constituency parties, preferably those in marginal seats.

But a cloud was immediately thrown over that initiative as Bob Dunn, Tory MP for Dartford and a leading member of the 1922 Tory backbench committee executive, said he would be writing to Sir Gordon Downey, the new Commissioner for Parliamentary Standards, to ask for a ruling on the impact of the change on the new Nolan requirements on registration and disclosure of outside financial links and the forthcoming ban on paid "advocacy".

Mr Dunn said last night that union cash was already channelled to local parties. "What's the difference?" he demanded.

The NEC meanwhile made the best of the recent tribunal ruling outlawing women-only shortlists for parliamentary selections. The committee endorsed working party endorsed recommendations on new procedures to help ensure fair treatment for women candidates.

Local parties will be asked to draw up statements of the qualities they seek in candidates, to ensure all candidates are judged objectively against the stated requirements. Parties will also be encouraged to invite at least four applicants to compete, and to ensure full notice of meetings.

The guidelines also urge that applicants be given reasons for their selection or rejection. Trade union nomination committees and party branches will likewise be urged to adopt the new procedures in a bid to stamp out the manipulation of shortlists to the advantage of "favoured sons".

The same questions should be put to all applicants, and questions about family responsibilities avoided.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture