Haringey Labour doesn’t seem to be having a good run-in with democracy this year. Over the summer there were the complaints about Unite’s “autocratic monopoly” for its role in the selection of a Parliamentary candidate in Hornsey & Wood Green.
Now there are allegations of rigged candidate selections for the May 2014 local council elections, with claims that the selection of Peter Morton, the Labour Party’s Head of Press, occurred at a meeting in which people ineligible to vote were allowed to vote and at which at least one candidate had been given preferential advance notice of hustings questions.
The selection was for St Ann’s Ward, where one Labour councillor was standing down after being charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. The other two were deselected at the selection meeting, where according to one account 5 Labour members who live outside the ward were wrongly allowed to vote, which would have been a very significant part of the total number of votes cast as another Labour Party member has said 26 voting members were present.
As one of the Labour members said:
If there were indeed five people voting who were ineligible, then that would have made a huge difference, based on my notes of the announced number of votes in all the rounds for different candidates.
Another Labour party member has also expressed concerns over the number of members signing up to the party in just one day in July, and also saying:
There were a few dirty tricks at the meeting. One member for example called for a break in the meeting in order to try and prevent one of the candidates from leaving on time to get to her own ward meeting, to select her own council candidates. It was obvious to those of us who knew what was going on. Another candidate appeared, to some of us, to be reading pre-written answers to three questions that were supposed to be sprung on candidates at the meeting itself. There is a big question mark hanging over some of the other addresses.
Complaints have been lodged with both the national Labour Party and its London region.