Newham: Labour members prepare legal challenge to re-selection of mayoral candidate

Newham: Labour members prepare legal challenge to re-selection of mayoral candidate

The Labour Party could face legal action over its re-selection of Rokhsana Fiaz to seek a second term as the borough’s Mayor and its alleged failure to address complaints about her made by Newham councillors and other party members since her election in 2018.

Funds are being raised to pay for a “pre-action letter” to Labour, notifying the party that court proceedings may be brought against it on the grounds that it has failed to follow its own rule book in its handling of the matters concerning Fiaz, and also in not lifting the suspensions of both of the borough’s constituency Labour parties (CLPs), East Ham and West Ham, which were imposed a year ago.

In an earlier letter to senior Labour officials, seen in redacted form by On London, lawyers acting for one of the local members, who does not wished to be named, provided a chronology of complaints against Fiaz, including of “bullying and harassment”, which the letter says led to a group of 18 Labour Newham councillors submitting a “formal complaint” to Labour’s London regional director, which they say was not responded to.

The letter also referred to dissatisfaction with Fiaz’s handling of complaints about antisemitism in the Labour locally and the findings of an independent report commissioned by Fiaz into the issue, which was not released to Labour members and made some criticism of the Mayor. The letter notes that the allegations were not referred to the council’s monitoring officer or the Labour Party at national level.

Labour was asked in the letter to investigate the complaints about Fiaz, to suspend her while this took place and whether details of the complaints were provided to the national executive committee panel – believed to have included Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner – which chose her to be the candidate for this year’s mayoral election. It also requested that the selection process be re-run and for a route to allowing the two CLPs to return to normal business. A reply was requested by 28 February, but On London understands that none has been received.

A funding-raising website set up to pay for a pre-action letter says: “The Labour Party Rule Book constitutes a legally enforceable contract between the Party and its Members. We intend to enforce these rights”.

Photo from Rokshana Fiaz Twitter.

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