MP in call for candidate’s selection investigation

Andrew Stephenson.
Andrew Stephenson.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has called on Labour Party leader Ed Miliband to begin an urgent and thorough investigation into the manner in which his Labour opponent at the next General Election, Azhar Ali, was selected.

In his letter to Mr Miliband, the Pendle MP makes reference to the recent letters in this newspaper from people claiming to be Labour Party supporters who attended the candidates’ selection meeting and expressing concerns about the process.

Mr Stephenson also says the position is worrying in the light of a leaked document from the trade union Unite last year which showed the union was backing Mr Ali for the nomination, and that there had been a significant increase in the membership of the Pendle Labour Party since 2010.

Mr Stephenson says in his letter: “There are some very serious questions to be answered regarding this matter, not just with regards to the involvement of the union Unite, whose actions in Labour selections have already attracted lots of media attention, but also with regards to the dubious use of postal votes.”

Pendle was recently named by the Electoral Commission as one of 16 constituencies most at risk from electoral fraud.

“The only way to clear this matter is by a thorough investigation by the Labour Party,” he said.