Len McCluskey, the leader of the country's biggest union, Unite today (Thursday 4 July) called upon the Labour party to restore integrity to its discredited inquiry into the selection campaign in the Falkirk Westminster constituency by handing the entire process over to an independent third party.
Denouncing the party's own “investigation” as scandalous in its shortcomings, McCluskey said in a letter to the party general secretary Iain McNichol that the report was: "Simply a ‘stitch-up’ designed to produce some evidence, however threadbare, to justify predetermined decisions taken in relation to Falkirk CLP.
"Even on the basis of this flimsy report, it is clear that these decisions cannot be justified. There is no emergency which would justify imposing these undemocratic restrictions, since any real problems could easily be addressed before embarking on a parliamentary selection process.
"The report has been used to smear Unite and its members. Even if the allegations of people being signed up to the party without their knowledge were true, this had nothing whatsoever to do with my union.
"It is noteworthy that members of the shadow cabinet have been in the lead in initiating this attack upon Unite. Have they had sight of this report while I, the leader of the union put in the frame, has not had the courtesy of a copy?
"The mishandling of this investigation has been a disgrace. I, however, am obliged to uphold the integrity of Unite, and I can no longer do so on the basis of going along with the activities of a Labour party administration in which I can place no trust.
"I will therefore be publicly proposing that an independent inquiry be held into all circumstances relating to Falkirk CLP and the conduct of all parties involved, including Unite, the Labour party centrally (including the Compliance Unit) and in Scotland, the officers of the CLP itself, and all those who have sought or are seeking nomination as the Labour PPC.
"Unite will cooperate fully with such an inquiry, and draw appropriate conclusions from any findings regarding our own behaviour. I trust that you will support such an inquiry, will direct all Labour party employees to cooperate with it and encourage other individuals to do likewise."
For further information call Pauline Doyle on 07976 832 861 or Alex Flynn on 07967 665869.