W Mids Lab refuses selection rerun when over 50% of members present say their vote ignored

sandwell dudley js tw

Last week the SKWAWKBOX reported exclusively on the suspension by the Labour Party of former Sandwell mayor Derek Rowley pending the investigation of alleged serious misconduct – and the complaints of local Labour members that Rowley had trampled on democracy to force through the candidacy of a fellow ally of local MPs Tom Watson and John Spellar.

Three weeks after the initial complaint – both tellers responsible for the count made similar complaints to Labour about Rowley taking votes before the count was completed – Labour’s West Midlands regional office eventually responded to state that the officers of Langley branch had been contacted and were happy that the vote had proceeded properly and that there was therefore no case to investigate:

langley response

The LCF (local campaign forum) executive reported that they were happy. Locals say that the LCF – of which Derek Rowley was the secretary until his suspension – is part of the problem.

Members of the branch were not spoken to.

Only thirteen members were present at the selection meeting. Seven of them have confirmed that they voted not to automatically approve the incumbent candidate – more than fifty percent of those present and eligible to vote.

The opposite of the official result that members say was forced through.

When an unsuccessful right-wing councillor complained a few weeks earlier about her result, the regional office promptly ordered a rerun – a rerun that the right-wing councillor then won.

But in Langley, where there are bitter complaints about the result and the way it was orchestrated, requests to conduct a new selection have been denied.

When the complainant objected to this result, the matter was referred to Labour’s HQ complaints team – but the matter is unlikely to be resolved in time for Langley to have the opportunity to choose its candidate properly.

Local members are calling for Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to intervene urgently and order the process to be rerun democratically.

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  1. It would appear that there is systemic corruption at West Midlands Regional office.

    The NEC will now have to intervene in this case.

  2. Absolutely outrageous. The right wingers must be cacking themselves if these are the dirty tricks they’re resorting to. There is NO place for them in this Party. THE NEC MUST ACT NOW.

  3. There are problems with the Regional Office, but trying to claim that this selection meeting was somehow undemocratic will not address them. As an observer at the meeting I know the following 1) The vote for a shortlist of one appeared as if it was going to be done by a show of hands, but one of the members requested a ballot. 2) A ballot was held and the two tellers counted the votes, on a table about 4 feet behind the ‘top table’ (IE in my eye-line) 3) After a minute or so DR went to the tellers spoke to them & came back to the chair, spoke to him, and then announced the result. 4) He said something like it’s a majority for a shortlist of one, he did not give the actual figures. 5) Neither teller objected and 6) none of the members asked for the voting figures. 7) At the conclusion of the meeting members were asked if they had comments about the process. No comments were made.

    If 7 members of that meeting did not want a shortlist of one, including according to your informant, the 2 tellers why did no one object at the time? Why did no one asked for the figures of the ballot? Virtually the whole of Warley Executive committee were in attendance as observers, if just one person had said something then there would be witnesses that an objection had been raised.

    I don’t know why you are persisting with this (non) story, but I have now been told by friends, who I send links to from Shawkbox, that as you’ve got this wrong how can they be sure other stories you report are correct. This story is beginning to damage your reputation.

    It is interesting that when ever you mention any MPs involved you only name Watson & Spellar. I’ve not yet seen a negative comment about the 3rd Sandwell MP, Adrian Bailey (hardly a bastion of the left), who in this particular squabble is on the opposite side to Watson & Spellar. I would check your source for this and other stories about the Sandwell LCF & selections and make sure you are not being used.

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