Tories call for investigation of Labour's Lewisham Deptford selection

The Unite / Labour controversy is threatening to envelop the Lewisham Deptford, following the recent selection of Unite worker Vicky Foxcroft as Labour's candidate for the safe seat in the next election. The Daily Mail reports that:

Scotland Yard was today asked to investigate fresh claims of law-breaking over union influence in the Labour party. The scandal deepened today as the Tories called on the Met Police to investigate allegations of orchestrated behaviour by Unite in Ilford North and Lewisham Deptford...

The letter [from Tory Vice-Chairman Bob Neill] also points to claims from a London Labour activist Mandy Richards that Unite is ‘bankrolling’ a number of ‘orchestrated’ campaigns. She singles out Lewisham Deptford for 'special attention'. Mr Neill says the activities, if true, could be in breach of the Fraud Act 2006 under the terms of ‘false misrepresentation’ or fraud by abuse of position.


Labour insiders had been keen to stress that problems with Unite's practices in Labour constituency parties was contained to Falkirk alone. A Labour source said: 'This is a silly political stunt.

The New Statesman reports that Labour is arguing that the Tories are wasting police time:

In neither case is there any evidence that illegal activity has taken place. Offering members free Labour membership in return for meeting Len McCluskey is not against the law and nor is "bankrolling" or "orchestrating" campaigns.

The Unite saga has already drawn blood and it's clear that we're only at the start of this news cycle, so it seems unlikely that this issue is going to go away soon.

10 comments:

Bill Ellson said...

Or possibly 'not' going to go away soon.?

Brockley Nick said...

Well spotted, sorry meant "unlikely"!!

Nionios said...

Wasn't Mandy Richards a union-backed (specifically Unison-backed?) candidate for this safe Labour seat?

Bill Ellson said...

She is a UNISON 'Publicity Officer and Steward', but I do not know if she was formally backed by them for the Lewisham Deptford selection.

tamsin said...

Unison and Unite don't really live up to their names, do they...

Nionios said...

That is an important distinction but given the eagerness of so many Labour prospective parliamentary candidates to show their union credentials, the boundary between the two is rather hard to identify if one is not well-versed in Labour politics.

Tim Lund said...

At least Vicky Foxcroft personally comes out well from this other story of unity on the Left http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2010/04/how-charlie-whelan-killed-new-labour/

Jon Johnson said...

When the Tories have open & transparent elections i'll start listening Enjoy some historical context ... http://feedly.com/k/14Yw8Vx

Brockley Nick said...

Whattaboutery is not really the point though, is it.

Tim Lund said...

The Tories problem is similar but different:

"Scrap Tory associations and rebuild the party"

"The national party is evaporating away, and what's left is a miscellany of types: the very old, the very loyal, the absolute bricks, the rather lonely, the slightly embarrassed guest and ... yes, it has to be said, a goodly clutch of ideological obsessives ... It is overwhelmingly these last who take a passionate and sustained interest in politics and this tail can wag the dog." - Matthew Parris, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article3809608.ece

The prize goes to the party which can first effectively rebuild online.

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