A formal complaint has been lodged by two Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) amid concerns around the selection process for two Scottish seats.
Grassroots members at the Rutherglen branch, along with those in the Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse CLP, have written to UK Labour leader Keir Starmer and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.
In their letter, they accuse party bosses of a “lack of transparency” in the process used to draw up the shortlist of prospective candidates in the Westminster seats.
They say they have been “inundated” with complaints from local members with concerns over the “integrity” of the process.
Members, they say, will cease campaigning until the issue is resolved.
The letter reads: “Following the publication of the Rutherglen and Hamilton West shortlist, both our CLPs have been inundated by complaints from members raising serious concerns around the process, lack of transparency, and the lack of involvement of local members.”
The CLPs said they “understand the need to select strong candidates … without delay” but added that for the candidates to have “any credibility it is vital that members have full confidence in the selection process used”.
Scottish labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie and MP Ian Murray were on the selection panel for the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency.
But the grassroots members urged the party to introduce a new selection panel, and launch an investigation into the process.
The letter continued: “Members have expressed concerns about the integrity of the selection and many of those who have contacted us have told us they cannot continue campaigning until this matter is resolved.
“Please treat this letter as a formal complaint and a request to pause the selection process for Rutherglen and Hamilton West and Lanark and Hamilton East with a view to continuing selections pending a full investigation into the process and the selection panel”.
A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “Selection processes for Labour Party parliamentary candidates are properly administered in full accordance with procedures set by the Scottish Executive Committee.
“Scottish Labour is pleased to have a number of fantastic candidates on the shortlist who will be champions for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.”
The seat of Rutherglen and Hamilton West could soon face a by-election as MP Margaret Ferrier risks a 30-day ban from the House of Commons.
She was elected as an SNP MP in 2019 but was suspended by the party the following year after breaching Covid rules – which saw her speak in the Commons and take the train between Scotland and England while positive for the virus.
Ferrier has already been ordered to complete a 270-hour community payback order by a court after admitting culpably and recklessly exposing the public “to the risk of infection, illness and death” as a result of her behaviour.
The Commons Standards Committee has recommended that Ferrier, who currently sits as an independent MP, should be suspended for 30 days – with a sanction of 10 days or more potentially enough to prompt a by-election to try to remove her.
But to do that, 10% of constituents in her Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat would need to sign a recall petition.
There has never been a by-election in Scotland after a recall petition.
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