A LABOUR councillor who aired claims of vote rigging to select a general election candidate in the Falkirk constituency has not made the final shortlist to become the town’s next MP.
Linda Gow is not amongst the three names that will be named by the Labour party on Thursday as possible candidates for the Falkirk West seat. Local party members will choose from Pam Duncan, Monica Lennon and Karen Whitefield on December 8.
Disgraced former Falkirk MP Eric Joyce was kicked out of the Labour party after committing an assault in a House of Commons bar,
Gow has spoken publicly on behalf of the complainants who triggered Labour’s inquiry into allegations that Unite packed the local party and signed up members without their knowledge to deliver a victory for Murphy.
Gow had the backing of Unison and the Co-operative Party and serves as a Labour councillor in Falkirk.
A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “We are delighted that the Labour members of Falkirk will have three very talented women to pick from when they come together to select the candidate they want to represent their community.
“We stand ready to get fully behind our new candidate when she is selected and begin earning the trust of the people of Falkirk in the run-up to the 2015 general election.”
Brian Capaloff, a member of the Falkirk party’s executive, said that Labour’s hierarchy has not been very “impressive” at dealing with the fall-out, which stemmed from accusations that the Unite union signed up members to the local party, many without their approval, to try and influence the selection.
The union was cleared of any wrongdoing in an internal inquiry by Labour but the local party was put under ‘special measures’ which meant that the power to draw up the shortlist was taken away from it, and the selection was conducted centrally.
Labour leader Ed Miliband has refused to reopen an inquiry into claims that the Unite union packed the Falkirk constituency party with its supporters in an attempt to have its favoured candidate selected. However, Mr Capaloff said Labour’s decision to withhold publication of a report on the inquiry meant the local constituency party was unable to gain the closure it needed to move on.
Meanwhile, Police Scotland’s Chief Constable Sir Stephen House is looking into separate allegations against Unite concerning alleged intimidation of senior members of Ineos staff.
The union was involved in an industrial dispute with the Grangemouth refinery, which was first sparked by the vote-rigging allegations.
Police Scotland responded to a letter from Conservative MP Priti Patel in which the politician raised concerns that a “potential criminal offence” had been committed by union members.
The force said Sir Stephen was “looking into the matter” and would “provide a response in due course”.