Labour's NEC forced to defuse selection rows
Thursday 29 February 1996
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.
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...