Labour battles with unions for control of party

LABOUR’S campaign chief yesterday resigned following claims that trade unions are attempting to fix the party’s candidate selection process.

Tom Watson MP, one of the most powerful people behind the scenes of the Labour party, yesterday quit as election co-ordinator in order to secure the “future unity” of the party.

Immediately afterwards the party announced it would ban trade unions from paying for new members to join Labour, following allegations that the Unite union is attempting to swamp local constituency parties with their supporters. The dispute began over the competition to succeed Eric Joyce in the safe seat of Falkirk. Unite, led by Len McCluskey, is alleged to have paid for dozens of its members – some of whom did not give their consent – to join the local Labour party in order to ensure its preferred candidate was selected for the seat. The selection process will be run by Labour HQ.

In his resignation letter, Watson, revealed Ed Miliband had initially refused his resignation.

McCluskey last night, accused the Labour leadership of a “stitch-up” and a “scandalous” attempt to smear his Unite union over the bitterly contested Falkirk seat.