Falkirk's Labour Party elects new chairman, following vote-rigging claims

November 25, 2013 12:08 AM

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Falkirk's Labour Party elects new chairman, following vote-rigging claims

The Falkirk Labour Party have elected vice chair Gray Allan as their new chairman.

Members voted for the trade unionist to take over from Stevie Deans, who resigned amid allegations of vote-rigging in the selection of a parliamentary candidate.

Mr Allan, a librarian and Unison official, said he hoped his appointment would start to heal the local party.

Following his election, Mr Allan said: "On 8 December, in Falkirk, we will select a candidate to fight this seat for the next general election. The priority for us is to work to regain the trust of the people of Falkirk so that we can be confident of a victory in this constituency.

"To win the upcoming election, we need an organised and united party in Falkirk and we elected a team here this afternoon that would hopefully take that task forward.

"We have asked in the past that representatives of the party nationally help us in that work, and come and speak to party members here in Falkirk about what we've experienced.

"We're delighted to be told that the party's Scottish and UK general secretaries are prepared to come and meet with Labour Party members to discuss the situation we're in and find a way forward. We understand that will take place after the selection of the candidate."

The Labour Party launched an investigation after claims that the Unite union had tried to rig the selection process for a parliamentary candidate in Falkirk. The seat was previously held by Labour MP, Eric Joyce, who stood down after being convicted of assault.

Unite was accused of coercing its members to join the Falkirk Labour Party or signing them up without their knowledge, to ensure the union's favoured candidate, Karie Murphy, was selected as a general election candidate.

But an internal Labour Party investigation cleared Unite and its members of any wrongdoing after key witnesses withdrew their allegations. Mr Deans, who had been suspended by Labour, was reinstated.

However, he later stood down after emails published in a newspaper suggested that a letter retracting key evidence in the Labour investigation was not written by the witnesses, but by union officials and approved by Mr Deans.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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