Just when you thought there couldn't be any more twists to the Stoke Central general election saga, here comes this 11th hour bombshell from Daisy Prafollo of the NEC. In an email sent to Labour party members in the early hours of this morning it says:
* Today's selection meeting has been called off.
* The suspension of Stoke Central CLP has been lifted.
* Applications for consideration are once again open.
* A 'long shortlist' of eight will be drawn up by the elected officers of the CLP.
* This list will be voted on following an expanded hustings.
Assuming the election is called on the sixth, we'll still be without a candidate until mid-way through the campaign. If only the powers that be had gone down this route to begin with it would have saved a lot of frustration and bad feeling. Will they ever learn?
Here's Daisy's letter:
Stoke Central CLP Selection Meeting scheduled for Thursday 1st April is Postponed
Last night (31st March) members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) met in emergency session after reports were received from the NEC Organisation Committee and the Senior Constitutional Officer regards the selection process in Stoke Central Constituency Labour Party (CLP). The NEC noted the selection process used to long list and shortlist Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) has exacerbated divisions in the CLP, gives the appearance of an imposition, and could damage the Party's standing in all of Stoke and North Staffordshire.
Members are Labour's lifeblood. Up and down the country they undertake inspirational work at weekends and in the evenings to get Labour candidates elected. Confidence in candidates and the processes that select them are vital. Members need to feel they have a real stake in our success!
Therefore the NEC has resolved the following:
1) The suspension of Stoke Central CLP, enacted on Saturday 13th March, is lifted with immediate effect. The administrative suspension of several of its officers is also lifted. Other sanctions remain in place.
2) The PPC selection meeting due to take place on Thursday 1st April has been postponed.
3) Nominations for the position of PPC are re-opened. Previous applicants may apply.
The NEC also resolved:
1) The officers of Stoke Central CLP will draw up a shortlist of no more than eight names. The truncated electoral timetable leaves no time for long listing.
2) Shortlisted candidates will face an extended hustings meeting.
Furthermore, the NEC decided:
To encourage as wide a participation as possible, colleagues with more than six month's membership can vote for their preferred candidate by telephone, post, email, Facebook or Twitter.
On behalf of the NEC I do apologise for the inconvenience. But it feels strongly we have to take lay democracy in the Party very seriously. We need trust in our ideas and our Party if we are to win a Future Fair for All.
Thank you for your continued support,
Junior Constitutional Officer