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:
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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