Labour still split over the way forward in Falkirk

Falkirk, the Scottish town at the centre of a dispute sparked by Labour's selection of a candidate for the seat to be left vacant by Falkirk West MP Eric Joyce. Picture: TSPL
Falkirk, the Scottish town at the centre of a dispute sparked by Labour's selection of a candidate for the seat to be left vacant by Falkirk West MP Eric Joyce. Picture: TSPL
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LABOUR in Falkirk remains divided on how to resolve the crisis over the selection of the party’s candidate for the next general election.

There’s an overwhelming feeling that a representative from Labour at UK or Scottish level should explain in person why the local party has effectively been in limbo for months and why national officials will still take charge of the candidate selection process in Falkirk West.

Labour MP Michael Connarty, who represents the neighbouring Linlithgow and East Falkirk, constituency said it was time the party “moved on” from the row, as he rejected calls to reopen the inquiry.

He said: “We should look at claims from anyone in the party who says that there has been impropriety, but the inquiry has been completed.”

Gray Allan, vice-chairman of Labour in Falkirk West, would not say whether the party should reopen the inquiry into alleged abuses of the selection process, but insisted that the party’s report into the row should be made available to members.

Mr Allan warned that there could be more “damaging” claims about Labour in the constituency unless the party leadership adopted a more transparent approach.

He said: “This all underlines the point made by members in a statement issued on Sunday, that these reports and rumours circulating show why we need to see the official report and conclusions.

“I feel heart sorry for these folk caught up in this, as they are ordinary working people, who have been caught up in a storm. I don’t know what to make of it really.

“The party should let us see the report, so that we can have a healing process and put this to bed.

“There’s a danger that unless action is taken to explain what’s happened, there could be damaging consequences with more stories and spin put on things.”

Alan Nimmo, a Labour councillor in Falkirk, blamed the row on Unite – which he said had been “found out” – as he called for the inquiry to be reopened.

He said: “It should be reopened as there’s been a case to answer for some time.

“There’s been a lack of leadership and the sooner we get to the bottom of it all the better.”