On Friday, the Labour Party published a press release, about the investigation into alleged wrongdoings in Falkirk CLP stating that
“no organisation or individual has been found to have breached the rules”
and reinstates suspended members Karie Murphy and Stephen Deans. This and the short term aftermath were reported by the BBC in an article called “Unite cleared over Labour vote-rigging row”, which has a number of quotes and reactions by leading Labour activists and MPs, and fills out the press releases story, if it’s too much for you, here’s the New Statesman, “Labour clears Unite of any wrongdoing in Falkirk selection contest” and here’s the Guardian, in an article entitled, “Labour won’t apologise to prospective Falkirk MP cleared of selection rigging”.
It should be born in mind that in addition to the suspensions, the NEC suspended the Falkirk Party’s selection, and placed the Party into special measures which means that the NEC not a locally elected group appoint the short list. In addition officers of the Party compiled a report which they used as the justification for these actions and then sent to the police.
At, or more accurately near the time, I argued [here…] that,
“When I say that it’s important that only the guilty be punished, the corollary is that the innocent are not; it’s possible that the beneficiaries of rule breaches or illegal acts are innocent of any wrong doing.”
I don’t believe that the Labour Party or its NEC kept to this principle of natural justice, nor the principle that charges and justice must be open.
Karie Murphy, one of the previous suspended members has withdrawn her candidacy for the position of Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Falkirk.
Frankly this still stinks. The decisions made, the way the decisions were made, the unevidenced nature of the allegations made by Labour Uncut writers and some MPs are all questionable. Given the report states that there have been no breaches of the rules, I’d like to see if all allegations were investigated, including those mentioned in the Scottish Herald and whether Gregor Poynton will be withdrawing his candidature.
The only way the Labour Party’s members will know if HQ acted in good faith and in accordance with the principles of natural justice will be for the report to be published. To those who want to keep it secret, these things never go away!
Unlike some, I believe that if the secret report suggested a breach of the law, then it should have been referred to the police.
Of course, the rules debate about the Trade Union link and the political levy have been sparked off by events in Falkirk. This is unlikely to have a good end for Labour.
It seems that neither Ed Miliband, nor Jim Murphy plan to apologise for comments made about so-called wrong doings.