By a Newsnet reporter
The Scottish Labour party is today reeling from allegations that people have been recruited as members of Labour despite not having filled in application forms.
The revelations relate to the growing concerns over the process to select a replacement for disgraced former Labour MP Eric Joyce who was expelled from the party after a series of controversial incidents.
The latest revelation to hit Scottish Labour involves the recruitment of four members of the same family into the party despite three of them never having agreed to join.
According to the newspaper reports the four were recruited by the Unite union. There are also claims that none of the four had completed application forms and only one had agreed to join in principle.
In one newspaper it is claimed that in a letter written to Scottish Labour, one of the four explained how he, his wife and child became members of the party: “Myself and two family members have been enrolled by Unite,” he said.
He adds: “I or my family did not fill in or sign any forms and wish to know what information the party holds about my family. I have concerns as to the way Unite in Falkirk are recruiting party members.”
According to Labour rules, a trades union can pay a new member’s subscription fee, but the individuals still have to complete an application form.
The selection process to succeed Eric Joyce in Falkirk has been mired in controversy for several months, and one prominent Labour commentator has now called on Ed Miliband to intervene.
Dan Hodges said in a newspaper article that “Something isn’t just rotten in Falkirk. It’s rotten in the entire Labour Party and Ed Miliband needs to get to grips with it before it’s too late.”
Commenting on the reports, the SNP Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:
“Labour are dogged by this problem of their own creation in Falkirk.
“One issue is that since Ed Miliband became leader there have been concerns about the selection process for parliamentary candidates being in the hands of a very few people, as voiced by Lord Mandelson when he suggested that selections were being ‘orchestrated by a cabal’.
“It shows once again that it’s not just the Tories that are having a bout of infighting and leadership woes.
“The comments by prominent Labour commentator Dan Hodges today sum up the concern being felt across the Labour party at this ongoing saga, and the complete lack of leadership from Ed Miliband in resolving it.
“Labour having bogus members in place to be potential candidates in Falkirk is just the latest sorry episode in this ongoing Labour Party disgrace. Falkirk deserves so much better.”
Responding to the claims, a spokesman for the Labour party said: A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “We have instigated a comprehensive investigation into any membership irregularities in Falkirk and our selection process has been suspended pending this review.”
A Unite spokesman said: “This is an obvious mistake if it occurred and a mistake that should have been picked up by the Labour Party when it processed the application. Unite is confident that its conduct throughout the process has been consistent with the rules of the Labour Party.”