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Sussex MP asks police to investigate union’s role in Labour candidate selection
9:20am Saturday 13th July 2013 in News
Police are looking into concerns raised by a Sussex MP about “fraudulent” union involvement in the selection of Labour candidates.
Following the vote-rigging controversy in Falkirk Crawley MP Henry Smith has written to the chief constable of Sussex asking him to examine the role Unite has played in the county.
It comes after two Sussex constituencies – Hove and Brighton Kemptown – were included on a list of 41 target seats in a leaked union document.
In his letter Mr Smith said: “I am concerned that this instance (in Falkirk) is just one possible example as Unite themselves admit they are targeting another 40 Labour Party parliamentary selections for similar treatment.
“I would be very grateful for any assistance you can offer in investigating this troubling matter.”
A Sussex Police spokesman said the force would examine the letter before making a decision whether to launch a formal inquiry.
In response a Labour spokeswoman said: “This is a silly political stunt. We have no evidence of possible criminal behaviour anywhere outside Falkirk.
“If Henry Smith has he should produce it. If he has not he should stop wasting police time.”
A leaked memo sent by a Unite representative claimed that Nancy Platts, who was successfully selected in Brighton Kemptown, and Simon Burgess, who missed out in Hove, were union candidates.
Activists locally raised questions when leading Unite officials sent congratulatory messages to Ms Platts on Twitter after she defeated Katie Ghose.
Figures released by the Electoral Commission showed Unite was a major donor to Nancy Platts’s failed campaign to win the Brighton Pavilion seat in 2010, contributing £3,500.
Unions, including UNISON and the National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers donated £13,000 to the campaign in total.
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