Monday, 24 November 2014

Labour leadership row: party responds

I've blogged recently on the controversy surrounding the running of the Scottish Labour leadership contest involving Jim Murphy, Sarah Boyack and Neil Findlay.

The ballot packs sent to members only included the nominations each candidate received from parliamentarians - endorsements that heavily favoured Murphy. No trade union or constituency party nominations were listed.

Critics believe the document gives the impression that Murphy has way more support than the other candidates.

Findlay has asked his party for clarification, as has Unite official Pat Rafferty.

Acting General Secretary Fiona Stanton has now explained the position in an email to party members. Here is an extract:

"There have been a couple of issues raised about the content of the Candidates Booklet circulated with the Ballot Packs which were despatched this week. I wanted to contact you all to explain the logistics and the issues involved.
The candidate booklets contain the candidates statements, contact details and also detail the nominations made by parliamentarians but they do not include details of the supporting nominations made separately by Councillors, CLPs and Affiliates. Unfortunately, the timing meant it was impossible to include supporting nominations in the Candidates booklet. Although the timetable is as close as possible to that in 2011, there was significantly less time for producing the candidates booklet between having validly nominated candidates and the ballots being despatched.
In order to be able to get them printed and with ERS in time for despatching the ballots, the candidate booklet went to print on Wednesday 5th November. This was the day after the deadline for MPs, MSPs and MEP nominations and we included everything we could on candidates at that stage- not just the words they had provided but also their contact details from the website, and their nominations from parliamentary colleagues.  The deadline for supporting nominations from Councillors, CLPs and Affiliates was Friday 14 November at 2pm. There was unfortunately no way those could go in the booklet as it went to print 9 days earlier."