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Fabian nomination in Newham mayoral vote ‘breached society’s rules’

PUBLISHED: 14:44 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:06 03 February 2017

Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales. Picture: Marcus Lyon

Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales. Picture: Marcus Lyon

© Marcus Lyon

The Fabian Society, one of the affiliates which supported Sir Robin Wales’ trigger ballot win, has said its vote “did not comply” with its own rules.

Announced to Fabian members yesterday by their general secretary Andrew Harrop, the decision was reached by a committee of the national society’s executive on Tuesday last week following an internal inquiry.

The left-wing political think-tank’s vote to re-select Sir Robin Wales resulted in “a number of complaints from members” who said they had not directly participated in the borough vote last November.

A statement from the Fabians said: “The society has concluded that the process followed did not comply with the national society’s bye-laws governing local Fabian societies.

“All but one of the people involved in the decision are no longer in office, following an AGM held on January 11.”

It went on to say that the now former officers of Newham Fabians “responded helpfully” in “providing information and justification for their actions”.

“They told us that the nomination had been made by the society’s officers and by its delegate to East Ham Constituency Labour Party, using the same procedure used in 2013.“

“They also said that their interpretation of the society’s bye-laws was that no process for a mayoral re-selection ‘trigger ballot’ was specified.”

New members of the Newham Fabians executive committee were elected at its annual general meeting on January 11.

Anita Pollack replaced Cllr Unmesh Desai as chairman while Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz was voted in as vice chairman.

Rohit K Dasgupta became secretary after Cllr Tahmina Rahman stood down and Cllr James Beckles was elected assistant secretary. Cllr Lester Hudson maintained his position as treasurer.

The Recorder has not yet verified who the East Ham Constituency Labour Party member is.

While the Fabian Society said it “accepted” that the officers had “acted in good faith”, it ruled that mistakes had been made.

“The committee determined that the national society’s bye-laws require a vote of members in the re-selection of a mayoral candidate and therefore concluded that the Newham Fabians nomination had breached the society’s rules,” the statement said.

Members will be “offered apologies” on behalf of the Newham Fabian Society with support and supervision offered to the current committee about how it carries out “future administration”.

Cllr Desai, former Newham Fabians chair, told the Recorder: “The society said very clearly that they accepted that the officers acted in good fatih.

“They exonerated us. Their conclusion was that the rules were broken but they are not saying that we did it deliberately or maliciously.”

Cllr Tahmina Rahman and Cllr Lester Hudson were also contacted for comment.

Sir Robin was approved as Labour’s candidate for the 2018 Mayor of Newham elections by its National Executive Committee (NEC) on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for campaign website Democracy Triggered said Sir Robin had “lost the confidence of Labour members in Newham”.

“Their overwhelming vote for an open selection was disregarded in favour of affiliates vote – it now turns out one of those affiliates breached their own rules,” they said.

“We call on the Labour party to strike out this result and to run an open selection for Labour candidate for Newham.”

A London Labour Party spokesman told the Recorder: “How affiliated members determine their vote is a matter for them. The process was conducted in accordance with Labour Party rules.”

A spokeperson on behalf of Sir Robin declined to comment.

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