Newham Labour Party members crowdfund legal challenge against ‘trigger ballot’ results

PUBLISHED: 13:47 23 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:55 24 October 2017

Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales. Picture: Marcus Lyon

Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales. Picture: Marcus Lyon

© Marcus Lyon

Campaigners are crowdfunding their legal bid to overturn the results of the Labour Party’s 2018 Newham mayoral selection process.

Two claimants, backed by up to 30 Newham Labour Party members, say voting rules in respect of trade unions and socialist societies were “breached” when Sir Robin Wales was re-selected as the party’s mayoral candidate last December.

They say some of the “affiliated organisations” voted more than once in trigger ballots - known as the affirmative nomination process - while others did not as the rules were “inconsistently applied and explained”.

David Gilles, who is leading the legal action, said: “I am confident that when the judge sees the evidence they will rule that Robin Wales was wrongly endorsed as the Labour candidate.

“Lots of people have got in touch with me outraged at what happened and asking how they can help. That’s why we’ve launched this CrowdJustice campaign.”

Since Friday, the online campaign has raised £2,900 out of its £10,000 fundraising target.

The move follows an exchange of legal letters from Irvine Thanivi Natas (ITN) solicitors, acting on behalf of Mr Giles, to GRM Law - the firm acting on Labour’s behalf - earlier this year.

ITN’s letters allege that Labour’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), failed to investigate any allegations of wrong-doing.

Sir Robin won the trigger ballots with 20 votes to 17 thanks to most affiliates backing him - but 11 out of 20 Labour electoral wards called for other candidates in an open selection process.

The legal challenge comes after a campaign by Trigger Democracy last year on behalf of the disgruntled Labour members.

Clive Furness, chair of the Labour group on Newham Council, said it was time for others to speak out on the record and stop their “character assassination” against Sir Robin and the Newham Labour Party.

He said: “We see a highly personalised attack on an individual who has given a lifetime of service to the people of this borough.

“These attackers have repeatedly failed to provide an alternative political platform which is either popular with the membership of the local Labour Party, or with the electorate as a whole.”

A spokeswoman for the London Labour Party said established rules and procedures were followed.

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