By a Newsnet reporter
Labour’s chaotic local government selection process has spilled over from Glasgow into neighbouring South Lanarkshire, after two senior local Labour activists resigned in protest following disputes over candidate selection procedures.
Labour’s South Lanarkshire local government committee chair Peter McKeown and secretary George Livingstone are reported to have removed themselves from the selection process after national officials took over the administration of local candidate selections.
A full-time Labour Party organiser has now taken over the administration and organisation of the selection meetings for Labour candidates in South Lanarkshire for the forthcoming local elections. After considerable delay, the selection process began at the beginning of this week and is expected to be finalised by Sunday.
Speaking to local newspaper, the Rutherglen Reformer, a Labour party source admitted that “shenanigans” over procedures had delayed the selection of candidates and angered party members, leading to the resignations of Mr McKeown and Mr Livingstone.
It is understood that the two Labour stalwarts had been ruled out as it was claimed that they had not been members of the party for long enough and were ineligible to stand as councillors.
However a source within the Labour party told the Rutherglen Reformer:
“That is technically not correct. There is absolutely no requirement to be a member of the party for a particular length of time.
“They appealed to the Scottish Executive Committee, who upheld their appeal.
“The local government committee didn’t like the fact their decision had been upheld and they delayed and prevaricated in terms of organising selection.”
Commenting, Christina McKelvie, SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, said:
“First in Glasgow and now in South Lanarkshire, Labour seems to be incapable of getting even the basics of selecting their council candidates right without collapsing into internal disputes and recriminations.
“They can’t even seem to agree who is or is not eligible to stand as a Labour candidate.
“While Labour are fighting among themselves, the SNP has a strong team of candidates in place across South Lanarkshire and are already out campaigning, talking to voters about the issues that matter to them and about the SNP’s policies for improving South Lanarkshire.
“Labour, along with their Tory partners, have mismanaged South Lanarkshire Council for long enough and now they can’t even get their act together to select their candidates. No wonder South Lanarkshire voters are deserting Labour in droves.
“In May, the people of South Lanarkshire will have the chance to kick this discredited party out of the power and elect an open and transparent SNP administration which will deliver on the issues that matter in South Lanarkshire.”