Evidence obtained by the SKWAWKBOX showing the ‘rigging’ of a council candidate’s interview illustrates the extent to which Labour’s previous administration in the West Midlands was in thrall to some of the region’s most right-wing MPs.
Late last year, a councillor in the region was interviewed for the ‘panel’ – the list of approved applicants from which local members can select their local election candidates – for the 2018 local elections. He failed, on the grounds – among others – that his communication skills were far short of the standard required, as the excerpt below from one of the applicant’s written answers demonstrates:
But the councillor was closely aligned with two of the region’s right-wing MPs.
The rejection was overturned and a new interview was arranged – and the interviewer who had recorded negative comments in the first interview was removed from the process.
Not only that, but the written responses on record from the second interview are not only massively more coherent and articulate, but in completely different handwriting:
A side-by-side comparison of the two forms puts beyond question the fact that the two were not completed by the same individual:
The handwriting on the second form has been identified by local Labour figures as belonging to a Labour staff member with a significant role in council candidate selections.
The acceptance of the applicant was not annulled.
The matter was reported to the party hierarchy in place at the time, both regionally and nationally, but no action was taken – and the staff member in question is still in a position to influence selections.
A local Labour official told the SKWAWKBOX:
It’s been an open secret in the region how much West Midlands regional office was in thrall to the right, in particular certain MPs. The paperwork around [redacted]’s selection shows that influence extended even to rigging selection processes to protect MPs’ allies.
We’ve got a new regional director now and it’s absolutely essential that he clears out urgently the people who’ve been involved in this kind of subversion of the party’s democracy and administration. The West Midlands Labour party needs to start reflecting the membership instead of the wishes of a small group of people who’ve been pulling all the strings for far too long.
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