Union within Labour party creates false memberships in order to rig voting process in Falkirk.
The Labour party came under fire after it was found that Unite, Labour’s biggest union backer was accused of coercing members to join the Labour Party and signing up unsuspecting families without their knowledge to ensure the union’s favoured, now with drawn candidate, Karie Murphy was selected as the Falkirk MP.
The investigation was first brought up by two families who suddenly found that they had become members of the labour party despite never signing the forms to join the party. The general secretary of the Unite union Len McClucky, denied fresh claims that the union was involved in the forgery and coercion and stated that it was a poor attempt from the Tories to discredit Ed Miliband, as the Conservatives take it upon themselves to leak emails of internal Labour reports of the Falkirk investigations to the Sunday Times.
In an interview with presenter Andrew Neil on BBC’s Sunday Politics Len McCluskey defends Unite by claiming “We didn’t thwart anything. The Labour party report was deeply flawed”. Yet, The Sunday Times last week said it had a plethora of emails sent to and from Stephen Deans, Chairman of the Falkirk Labour Party which revealed the full extent of the plot, raising questions about whether Unite had influenced the outcome of the inquiry when the case was cleared by an Internal Labour Party investigation after key witnesses withdrew their allegations.
The emails included details of reports by Labour officials which had never been published and included evidence of where there were “deliberate attempts to frustrate” interviews with some of the key witnesses. If these allegations are true then there could be a potential breach of the 2006 fraud act and a subsequent attempt to induce those who had complained, to change their testimony before the national party could investigate.
Vice – chairman of the Conservative Party Bob Neil also wrote a letter to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, saying ”I am concerned that this instance is just the tip of the iceberg, as Unite themselves admit they are targeting at least another 40 Labour Party parliamentary selections for similar treatment. Senior Labour Party sources have also confessed that the problems go wider than just Falkirk.” Len McCluskey replied to these claims by telling presenter Andrew Neil, “This is a trap set by Tory central office and Ed Miliband should not fall into those traps.”
But he claimed the leaks to the Sunday Times were part of a wider plot to undermine Ed Miliband.
Ed Miliband’s deputy, Harriet Harman also came forward to say that Miliband should “not apologise” even though the allegations had caused a rift between the party and Unite. The Labour party went as far as to say that they had no plans to re-open the investigation after two full police enquiries. Miliband did however, come to the defence of senior official Michael Kane, in the local branch of Unite by disclosing that he bought group membership for his whole family stated in September that several witnesses had indeed, retracted their statements.
Ed Miliband doesn’t want to completely cut off ties with the unions admitting it could be a huge “gamble” and could potentially plunge the party into “financial meltdown”. Several Labour councillors have come forth to say that Ed Miliband must now publish the party’s report on the affair or re-investigate. Shadow Defence Secretary and Eastwood MP Jim Murphy told the BBC: “The fact that Unite are an important part of the Labour Party doesn’t give them a right to behave in a macho way of doing their politics, of a way that belongs in the past.
“They need to remember they don’t run the Labour Party. Ed Miliband runs the Labour Party.”
Prime Minister’s Questions in October presented PM David Cameron’s lack of hesitation to mention Labour’s links with Unite and has accused Ed Miliband of being too weak to stand up to the union. Miliband’s most recent response concerning Falkirk is that Labour are intending to look into “new evidence” and speaking at the event in central London he clarifies for the journalists and public that he is “absolutely determined that we do not have a repeat of Falkirk anywhere”.
Report by Abigail Owusu