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E-mails ‘reveal Unite bid to thwart party inquiry’

Karie Murphy: Unite's favoured Falkirk candidate. Picture: PA

Karie Murphy: Unite's favoured Falkirk candidate. Picture: PA

  • by ANDREW WHITAKER
 

THE Unite union was accused of attempting to thwart a Labour Party investigation into alleged vote-rigging in Falkirk in a leaked dossier published yesterday.

Extracts from the internal Labour report are contained in a Unite document, which sets out the union’s rejection of the claims about its involvement in the local party in Falkirk West.

The document was reported to be part of a cache of e-mails to and from Stephen Deans raising questions about whether Unite influenced the outcome of the inquiry.

Labour’s inquiry highlighted cases of alleged forgery, coercion, trickery and manipulation that party officials alleged Unite had been linked to in Falkirk,

It also includes extracts of the internal Labour report, which has never been never published by the party. In it, party officials say there were “deliberate attempts to frustrate” interviews with some of the key witnesses.

The e-mails suggest a letter retracting key evidence in the Labour investigation was not written by the witnesses but by union officials and approved by Mr Deans,

One of the key allegations in Labour’s dossier centres around a claim that during a recruitment drive, before the selection of a new candidate, new members were signed up and paid for by Unite without their knowledge. Labour said the moves looked like an attempt to “buy votes” and to pack the party with Unite supporters, so that Karie Murphy would be selected.

In an executive summary, Labour said it found “there was no doubt that members were recruited in an attempt to manipulate party processes.”

The investigators said there was “evidence that signatures were forged” and that “individuals have been coerced into signing direct debit forms” and that other did not understand whet they were signing.

The details were in a 12-page document drawn up by Ms Murphy, to reject the claims that led to her and Mr Deans being suspended from the party.

 

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