COMPLAINTS that led to the suspension of the city’s Labour Party include concerns about the eligibility of three successful candidates, The Argus has learned.

Questions have been raised to the party’s National Executive Committee about the eligibility of Mark Sandell, Greg Hadfield and Phil Clarke in the wake of this month’s AGM results which saw all three Jeremy Corbyn supporting candidates voted onto the local party’s executive committee.

All three have dismissed the complaints telling The Argus their candidacies were widely publicised nine days before the vote and approved by the local party’s executive committee.

The election results have now been declared void by the NEC, which has also been asked to investigate claims of alleged ballot irregularities and improper conduct at the party's AGM, with new elections not expected until either October or November.

Complaints against Mr Clarke have been raised because he has stood three times against a Labour Party candidate at city council elections for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) – most recently last May.

Mr Clarke said he made no secret of his political past when applying to the party and his previous affiliation with TUSC was well-known in the city.

He said he had been an active member of the Labour movement all his life and was motivated to join the party last year following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

Mr Clarke dismissed suggestions his previous support for a rival party made him unsuitable to stand as a Labour executive committee member.

He said: “It shouldn’t be a case of I’ll support a party no matter what.

“I don’t think tribalism is how the majority of people think anymore.

“It would be a very sorry place if people couldn’t change their minds as political parties change their direction.”

Fellow successful candidate Mark Sandell, who was voted in as the new local party chairman, has also been the subject of complaints over his alleged links to the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty party.

Mr Sandell told The Argus he was not a member of any other party but was merely a supporter of the Trotskyite party’s newspaper Solidarity which had previously featured articles by leading Labour figures including Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Tony Benn.

He said he had been a Labour member from 1986 until the mid-1990s and rejoined the party just over a year ago.

Mr Sandell described the actions by the NEC to suspend the local party as “out of proportion” and said the allegations against the party remained “very vague”.

Responding to claims by Brighton-based Labour peer Baroness Maggie Jones that a small minority of new members to the local party were guilty of “entryism”, he said: “I don’t think there were 100,000s of revolutionary socialists waiting in the wings for their moment to come.

“These are working class people who want to see a leader who says what he thinks, who is honest and who offers a different direction from the current mainstream consensus. I wouldn’t call that infiltration.”

Mr Hadfield, who was voted in as party secretary, also dismissed claims surrounding his candidacy by presenting evidence which showed his 11-month suspension from the party was lifted in August last year with just a formal warning and no charges brought against him.