Miliband defends Falkirk probe
Ed Miliband has defended his handling of the Falkirk vote-rigging row, insisting there is no need for Labour to reopen its inquiry.
Mr Miliband played down suggestions from former chancellor Alistair Darling that a new investigation was needed amid allegations that a key witness had not wanted to retract a complaint.
He said he responded "swiftly" and was ensuring there was "no repeat" of the controversy over union involvement in candidate selection processes.
The comments came as Mr Miliband answered questions following a speech on living standards in central London.
The Labour leader said senior officials had asked Lorraine Kane about quotes in the Daily Mail suggesting she had not intended to retract her complaint about alleged irregularities.
She told them she stood by the sworn statement given to the party's inquiry in September.
Mr Miliband said he believed Mr Darling meant "that we should look at any new evidence" and that had happened.
He stressed that the local party was already in special measures and he was bringing in fundamental changes to relations with the unions.
"I am absolutely determined that we do not have a repeat of Falkirk anywhere," he added.
Mr Miliband faced repeated challenges from journalists on why the party's inquiry was not being reopened.
He said the party would look into any new evidence that surfaced.
"That is what we did and that is what we will do for any new evidence that is presented," he said.
Asked if he was "scared" of Unite boss Len McCluskey, Mr Miliband replied: "We took the Mail story seriously because it is right to take seriously any new evidence that is presented by people.
"That is why we checked it out with the family concerned."
Pressure has been growing for Labour to publish a report into allegations that Unite "manipulated" the process - which the union denies.
The Sunday Times said it had seen emails suggesting the retraction letter of witnesses was written by Unite officials and approved by one of the figures at the heart of the dispute, Falkirk constituency party chairman Stevie Deans, who was also the union's convener at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant until he resigned last week.
Lorraine and Michael Kane were among those who claimed that they were signed up as members without consent.
But Mrs Kane told the Daily Mail: "I did not change the testimony. I did not change anything. I did not withdraw anything. I want all the emails to see what's what. This has been going on for months.
"I don't know what the emails are saying. I want to see everything so I know what was said and if anything was changed from what I said."
Mr Darling and Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont both suggested yesterday that the issues should be looked at again.
"Something has gone very wrong in Falkirk. There needs to be a very thorough investigation," Mr Darling told the BBC. "I understand the police are looking at matters now.
"If they proceed, then that is what'll happen but if they don't, there needs to be a full inquiry and I am quite clear that the results have to be published because that is the only way in which people will be satisfied that justice is done and been seen to be done."
Ms Lamont, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, said: "I think we certainly need to look at that because obviously there is a concern if the investigation wasn't entirely complete. Again, I say these matters are ongoing. We know that some complaints have been given to the police."
A Labour spokesman said last night: "We have a sworn affidavit and compared it with a short conversation with a journalist.
"It is right to base our decision on a sworn affidavit confirmed again today by Mrs Kane.
"There is now a police inquiry going on into other issues around Falkirk and we will, of course, consider the outcome of that inquiry."