Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Labour dismisses calls to apologise

Labour has refused calls to apologise to a would-be MP cleared over allegations of trade union-selection rigging as it faced Tory claims of a "stitch up" over the Falkirk affair.

The party announced that an internal inquiry found party rules were not breached in Falkirk after "key evidence" in the case - which it had referred to the police - was withdrawn.

It lifted the suspensions of Unite-backed would-be MP Karie Murphy and local party chairman Stevie Deans, and Ms Murphy said she was withdrawing from the selection for the sake of "reconciliation and unity".

MP Tom Watson, who quit the shadow cabinet at the height of the controversy, said they were owed an apology after being put through hell on the basis of a "flawed" and factually inaccurate internal report.

The former general election co-ordinator - who employed Ms Murphy and is close to Unite boss Len McCluskey - said it would be "very gracious" if Mr Miliband made it personally.

But a senior Labour source insisted: "There is no prospect of an apology".

While it has dropped the threat of disciplinary action, the party has kept in place a membership freeze and still intends to impose a centrally-decided shortlist of candidates for the 2015 general election.

It faces pressure to release the internal report which sparked an investigation of claims that Unite signed up large numbers of new party members - some without their knowledge - in a bid to favour its preferred candidate.

Mr Miliband said at the time the behaviour was "part of the death throes" of a "hated" type of politics and used it as a platform to propose major reforms to the party's historic links with the unions.

But with the GMB cutting £1 million from its affiliation funds to Labour in response to the shake-up and other unions tipped to follow, the Tories said the Falkirk decision showed Unite was "calling the shots".


From Belfast Telegraph