SCOTTISH Labour leader Johann Lamont has attacked the “arrogance” of officials allegedly involved in attempts to rig the party’s candidate selection in Falkirk.
Ms Lamont said the process had been “abused”, suggesting party officials had tried to force their favoured candidate, Karie Murphy, in place in the seat.
The Labour leader insisted the contest to select a new candidate on 8 December would be “open, free and fair”.
Ms Lamont has come under fire from political opponents, who claim she has been too reluctant to get involved in the row over the seat. But now Ms Lamont has hit out at the way some figures in the local party approached the selection to replace disgraced MP Eric Joyce.
She said: “What happened at Falkirk was completely unacceptable.
“We acted quickly to expel Eric Joyce from the party after his behaviour was exposed. But the process to select a new candidate was abused by people with personal agendas, who abused the power they had.
“It may have been bruising and taken longer than I wanted, but we acted and the process to pick a Scottish Labour candidate to offer to the people of Falkirk has begun again.
“I am determined that this time it will be an open, free and fair contest.
“But of all the abuses which happened in the past, I believe the greatest one is this. That there were people within the party and, indeed, outwith it, who believed the selection was the most important thing, that whoever was chosen would be accepted by the people of Falkirk. That arrogance is unforgivable.”