Union accuse Labour of “stitch-up” over Halifax candidate shortlist

Karie Murphy
Karie Murphy

Union leaders have accused Labour of an “old fashioned stitch-up” to prevent one of its activists making a parliamentary shortlist.

Unite spoke up for Karie Murphy, who failed to be selected for the party’s shortlist in the marginal seat of Halifax.

It would appear New Labour’s Party management methods continue. The rights of individual members and of constituency parties are discarded at the whim of those in the leader’s office.

Ms Murphy was caught up in the vote-rigging row in Falkirk last year, but she, and Unite, were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Labour leader Ed Miliband, deputy leader Harriet Harman and shadow chancellor Ed Balls attended a meeting of Labour’s national executive but had left before a statement was read out by a Unite representative.

It accused the party’s media team, and others in the administration, of briefing to create a “phoney war” between Mr Miliband and the union’s general secretary Len McCluskey.

“It is deeply regrettable that an ‘old fashioned stitch-up’ was used to halt Karie Murphy, a Unite activist, from having her legitimate opportunity to present her case for selection to the members of the Constituency Labour Party,” said the statement.

“We are not deflected either by the ‘convenient’, but nevertheless spurious excuse of needing a ‘local’ candidate. We know the truth.

“It would appear New Labour’s Party management methods continue. The rights of individual members and of constituency parties are discarded at the whim of those in the leader’s office.

“This elected national executive is not allowed to fulfil its proper role in guarding the party’s democracy.

“Post-election, it is evident that the undemocratic, and at times, autocratic manner in which the Party is run should be examined.

“In the meantime, as far as Unite is concerned, this is the end of the matter and we will concentrate all our efforts on achieving victory for Labour on 7 May.”