Vote to choose key selection panel goes ahead today
As the SKWAWKBOX flagged yesterday, the process to choose the Labour candidate to replace ‘quitter’ MP Mike Gapes in Ilford South begins today – in spite of protests from Muslim Labour members that its proximity to the Hajj pilgrimage will prevent some of them from being able to take part.
Muslim members are believed to represent over forty percent of Ilford South CLP (constituency Labour party) members, with most leaning left. The Hajj begins on Friday, so those participating will already be en route.
An email signed by forty-five of those members has been sent to Labour’s London regional director and to the national party:
We the undersigned Muslim members of Ilford South CLP write because we are extremely concerned and angry about the Ilford South Parliamentary Selection being started in August.
Running a selection process in August when many people have more family commitments because of school holidays, have already booked holiday and will be away, and because the local CLP was told that the process would start in the Autumn, many people in the local Muslim community are making the Holy Hajj pilgrimage during August.
Members undertaking this religious duty could therefore be disenfranchised from full participation in a process that many of us have waited years to take part in.
Ilford South CLP has never previously met during August, and it’s seems odd that this precedent would be broken given the importance of a full and fair process for members. It’s totally unacceptable.
Please could you confirm that the Ilford South selection process will be halted and not restarted before September at the earliest to allow all members to participate fully, in a selection process that we have been waiting years to take part in.
In spite of the email, the vote is going ahead today.
A London Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX that the vote is to select the members of the ‘selection panel’, not the candidate, and that the party wants to be able to complete the process early because of anticipation of a general election in the autumn, adding:
The selection vote for the parliamentary candidate will take place in September so all members will have a say in that.
The selection panel will, however, have significant influence over which hopefuls are put to the members for that vote.
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