Labour has put its Falkirk constituency party under “special measures” after an internal report raised concerns over the selection of a candidate for the next general election.
A new candidate will now be chosen centrally by the national leadership and Scottish party, after evidence suggested that the Falkirk constituency may have been packed with new members in a bid to influence the choice.
All individuals who joined the party in Falkirk after 12 March, 2012, when MP Eric Joyce resigned from Labour after a brawl in a Commons bar, will have their membership frozen.
Officers of the party’s ruling National Executive Committee met today to discuss the internal report, which was commissioned following claims that the Unite trade union had recruited dozens of new members in Falkirk.
General secretary Iain McNicol will now conduct a review of membership procedures to ensure they are not open to abuse.
Labour has refused to reveal how many new members joined in Falkirk after Mr Joyce quit the party.
Yesterday’s developments look likely to mark the end of Karie Murphy’s hopes, regarded as Unite’s favoured candidate to be chosen to represent Labour in Falkirk.
A senior Labour source said it was “too early to say” whether any individual would be excluded from the all-women shortlist, but added that the party would want to maintain the highest standards in its selection.
No time-frame has been announced for a candidate to be chosen.In a statement, a Labour spokesman said: “NEC officers today decided a series of measures are needed to uphold the integrity of the Labour Party.”