Questions are being raised as to whether Ed Miliband is paying the price of securing union backing to win the Labour leadership as The Times reports for a second day on the ensuing row that selections for European Parliamentary seats are being stitched up in favour of trade union candidates.
Candidates who have previously fought races, such as Anne Fairweather, who was number three on the Labour list for London in the 2009 European election, are not making the final selection — despite being popular with members.
It is embarrassing for Miliband as it gives the impression that Labour is dominated by its trade union backers. It follows criticism of ‘One Nation’ Labour from Tony Blair who has warned Miliband of the danger of turning to the left and becoming a party of protest.
Miliband is being called on to intervene in the selection row and for the whole process of selecting candidates for the 2014 European elections to be rerun “unless a satisfactory explanation can be given for the way that some candidates were sidelined”, the Times says.
In London there is rising anger and a number of critical motions have been passed. Fairweather’s branch in Brixton Hill passed a motion calling on the regional board to explain their decision. Bloomsbury ward in Camden passed a motion condemning the selection process, and Thornton and Clapham Common branches in Streatham CLP have passed similar motions with others set to follow.
“In each motion, the central questions are the same: how does someone go from Labour’s leading European candidate to not even meriting an interview? What has changed? Based on the evidence, it seems that while Anne Fairweather remains very much the same candidate so strongly endorsed by Labour members at the time of the last European election, control of key decision-making posts is now in the hands of the resurgent left. Her crime seems to have been to work in business and not be one of the chosen candidates of the unions and the left,” says Labour Uncut.