The local selection committee in Uxbridge and South Ruislip has been disbanded with “immediate effect” and the results of ward nomination meetings declared “null and void”, with control of the remainder of the process passing to London region.
In an email to the selection committee, LabourList understands that members were informed that the committee has been disbanded over a “clear breach” of procedural guidelines that block committee members from campaigning for or against any candidate until after shortlisting has been completed.
Labour’s regional office in London cited an email sent to local members by the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) secretary and procedural secretary on November 26th that allegedly featured “prominent coverage and photographs” of a candidate.
It claimed that the email was sent out 24 hours before several of the nomination meetings were due to take place “giving an unfair advantage to one candidate”. It noted that similar content had been shared the CLP’s Facebook account.
The email and Facebook post related to the CLP’s annual Christmas food bank fundraiser. The Facebook post named Connor Liberty, a candidate, stating in the final line: “A special thank you to Alex Sim and Connor Liberty for once again spreading the Christas [sic] good will and making this very important initiative possible!”
UXBRIDGE: several people say London regional Labour Party took over Uxbridge selection because senior members of local party put out this message which was deemed to promote one of contenders, Connor Liberty, for his work on party’s Xmas foodbank fund-raiser (see bottom line). pic.twitter.com/YKq6vtAC5s
— @Tomorrow’sMPs (@tomorrowsmps) December 2, 2022
The email confirming the dissolution of the committee stated: “It is clear in our procedural guidelines that no member of the selection committee should campaign for or in opposition to any candidate until after shortlisting has been completed.
“The neutrality of the selection committee and their conduct is a vital part of ensuring fair procedures in the selection process. In consultation with the NEC representative and the governance [and] legal unit, it has been determined that the email sent is in clear breach of the above guidance.”
The email continued: “As a result of this breach, the selection committee is no longer able to continue in this process and is disbanded with immediate effect.
“Unfortunately, in the interest of ensuring fairness to all candidates during the shortlisting process, the results of the nomination meetings are also null and void. The shortlisting procedure and the subsequent hustings will now be carried out by the regional executive committee.”
A local member told LabourList that they were “very unhappy” that the selection committee had been dissolved and claimed that the decision was taken “about three hours” after ward nominations were published. “We think their favoured candidate did not do well enough,” they added.
Another local member said: “I’m incredibly worried that a candidate with the overwhelming majority of ward nominations and a large amount of popularity locally will be blocked from the shortlist.
“If an email about a food bank fundraiser is being used by regional to overturn a democratically run process because their handpicked candidate has fallen flat, that is a cynical and spurious move that will harm our local party in the long run.”
The results of the ward nomination meetings were published on Twitter on Thursday evening, with Liberty receiving nominations from six wards. Selection rivals Danny Beales and Sital Punja each received one nomination.
Following reports that the selection committee had been disbanded, Momentum tweeted: “It doesn’t matter what wing of the party you’re from. If you’re not [leader of the opposition’s favourite, the selection will be rigged against you. The Labour machine is out of control.”
The selection committees in Kensington and Camberwell and Peckham were also dissolved earlier this month. In the former, members were informed the committee was being dissolved half an hour before the shortlisting meeting was due to take place, LabourList understands.
An email was sent to members of the committee, which raised “serious concerns” about the selection process and revealed that London region had had to commence a “serious investigation” into antisemitism during the process.
It claimed that committee members had had to be removed because of leaks and that the procedural secretary and other members had had to be removed for “openly supporting” candidates.
The committee in Camberwell and Peckham was dissolved following reports in Southwark News that the committee had finalised a shortlist of three names.
An email was sent to committee members from London region, describing the article as a “blatant attempt to undermine” the selection process and informing members that the committee had been disbanded.
The Labour Party, London region and Connor Liberty have been contacted for comment.
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