Stoke Central MP Mark Fisher is outraged at the decision to exclude several key Party members from being candidates at the 2010 local elections.
Barry Stockley, Gary Elsby, and Mick Williams have been rejected despite a long and sometimes heated appeal hearing. They must now consider what action to take next. It is expected that there will be an emergency constituency party meeting.
Terry Crowe had been rejected but was successful in his appeal. It is unlikely that he will face the electorate in 2010 as he is determined to support the failed trio.
Stoke Central MP Mark Fisher said that he found the appeals panels decision, “amazingly incomprehensible”.
Talking to Pits’n’Pots today Mr Fisher MP said: “I can not see how the panel have come to their conclusions based on the evidence placed in front of them”.
” Barry Stockley gave 4 out of 5 very strong answers, this was recognised by the panel, so how could he not be considered a suitable candidate”
“Gary Elsby has been accepted on the MPs’ panel list and yet these people deem him to be an unsuitable candidate for councillor”.
“I feel I have no alternative but to take this issue and challenge Harriet Harman to investigate this selection process”
Stoke Central Constituency Chairman Barry Stockley has said that he is incensed by the Regional Office’s interference in the selection process.
He said: “This is all about Regional office’s refusal to accept Mick Williams as the Co-Op delegate on the City Party. The have excluded him for no good reason”
“There are two Stoke Central resolutions against the Regional Office and the City Labour Party”
“The first is condemning their interference in the selection of local candidates for the 2010 local elections. The second is condemning the use of foul and abusive language in a Constituency meeting by City Labour Party Chair Sarah Hill toward another member and her subsequent refusal to offer and apology now, or at anytime in the future”
“We feel that we had no option but to withdraw from the City Labour Party. I think this has had an impact on the way that the Regional officers have dealt with our application to be candidates”
“There are double standard here, Gary Elsby has been refused to go on the candidates list, one of the reasons is that he used foul and abusive language on a web site 2 years ago in a private capacity. Sarah Hill does the same In a Labour Party meeting and gets selected, it’s unbelievable”
Terry Crowe is today considering his position in the Labour Party. He is extremely angry at the treatment of him and his fellow party members by the Regional Office.
He said: “I love the Labour Party and I love the communities of Stoke-on-Trent. I have served both for over 30 years. I am disgusted at how I and others have been treated”.
“One of the things that the appeals panel threw at me is that I don’t understand equal opportunities. I have been disabled for many years, nobody understands equal opportunities better than me. I have campaigned for years for equal opportunities and for people with disabilities”
” I found the panel’s treatment of me insulting and even though I won my appeal I don’t feel in a position to commit to the regional office agenda. They have not got a clue about what is needed for Stoke-on-Trent”
“I resent people from outside coming in and taking over the selection of our candidates”
Gary Elsby has been a Labour member for nearly 30 years and is the Secretary for Stoke Central CLP. He has been told that he does not understand the aims and values of the Labour Party and that he lacks political judgement.
He said: “I am disappointed and hurt but I will have to consider what action to take when we have had a discussion over the proceedings”
“I was grilled for 2 hours and I felt I gave a good account of myself, but I feel that this is about more than the reasons given”
“Everyone who opposed the elected mayor or was a member of Democracy for Stoke has felt the wrath of the Regional Office. I am and will remain a committed Labour Party supporter and I constantly tell people that we will win the general election in 2010″
Mick Williams refused to comment publicly pending his request for written clarification of the reasons for his rejection.
City Party Chair Sarah Hill refutes the allegation that she has not apologised, she said: “I have apologised to the NEC and I understand that apology will be forwarded on to the Chair of Stoke-on-Trent Central”
All four of the rejected party members remain committed to Mark Fisher’s election campaign and all stand by Mick Williams, the man most credited with returning democracy to Stoke-on-Trent with the removal of the mayoral system via D4S.
This matter has already attracted the attention of Labour Party National Executive Member Peter Kenyon who wrote on his website:
“I have already asked whether or not the Labour Party is operating a scorched earth policy in Stoke on Trent. There is mounting evidence of purges being conducted all round the country in the name of the National Executive Committee. The NEC’s so-called representative in Stoke is a trade unionist. He is no longer a member of the NEC. I am starting to question the role of trade union paid officials in the governance of the Labour Party”.
You can read the whole of Peter Kenyon’s article by clicking the link below.