The National Executive of the Labour Party (NEC) has refused a request from party members in Newham to investigate how Sir Robin Wales was selected to remain as mayoral candidate for a fifth term of office. This is a remarkable ruling, since there appear to be breaches in voting regulations pertaining to seven out of the 20 votes in support of Sir Robin.
One of these votes was cast by the local branch of BECTU, the broadcast workers’ union. But the union had not paid its affiliation fee for 2016 and on 1 January it formally dis-affiliated from the Labour Party. According to regulations, therefore, Newham’s BECTU branch was not entitled to vote in support of the sitting mayor. A similar breach of regulations has also been reported in respect of the local branch of the Fabian society.
However, in a meeting last month the NEC declared that the ballot process had not breached any rule. This ruling is in line with the London Labour Party statement that “the process in Newham was carried out in line with established rules and procedures”.
But in an email to party member Ian McNicol, a representative of the NEC admitted that the Newham issue was raised “very briefly”, and there was “no discussion about pausing or changing the result”.
Several people have taken to Twitter in response to the cursory consideration of this issue: