Sir Robin Wales calls for Labour to cancel trigger ballot result

Sir Robin Wales

Sir Robin Wales - Credit: Newham Cll PR

The mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, has called on the Labour party to cancel the result of the controversial trigger ballot.

Last year’s ballot involved electoral wards and affiliated organisations voting for whether they wanted Sir Robin to automatically become Labour’s candidate for the 2018 mayoral election, or whether to hold an open selection process.

Sir Robin won the trigger ballot with 20 votes to 17 thanks to most affiliates backing him - but 11 out of 20 Labour electoral wards called for the involvement of other candidates.

He explained that the process was “endorsed by the Labour Party National Executive Committee” but had been “attacked by a number of often anonymous individuals”.

Sir Robin said: “A few of these individuals have filed a court case against the Labour Party itself.

“This can only work to the Tories’ advantage, waste the party’s resources, and undermine our position in Newham, particularly given the upcoming local government elections in May 2018.

“The costs of a court case would be significant, and Labour Party members money should not be used in this way. It also risks jeopardising the hard work of our Labour councillors.

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“It is on that basis that I have asked the party to cancel the results from the trigger ballot. I am supporting a new process to be undertaken under the auspices of the national or regional Labour Party.”

He added: “It is deeply regrettable that at this late stage in our preparation, and with local elections just a few months away, we have to appease a minority for the sake of their own gain.

“I had hoped that our focus together would have been getting Labour re-elected into Newham to ensure a radical and progressive council.

“However, in my view we should take this issue out of the courts, and back into members’ hands.”

The legal action was set to focus around the allegation that Labour’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), failed to investigate any allegations of wrong-doing.

Those criticising the process claimed that some of the affiliated organisations voted more than once in the trigger ballot - known as the affirmative nomination process - while others did not as the rules were “inconsistently applied and explained”.

The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.