By G.A.Ponsonby
The Scottish National Party has criticised the silence of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont as the crisis engulfing the party over the Falkirk candidate selection process escalated.
Relations between the party and its biggest donor the Unite union have worsened with the trade union accusing the Labour leadership of pursuing an “anti-trade union agenda” and Unite’s leader openly warning Ed Miliband against listening to two senior Scottish Labour MPs.

It has emerged that, along with Unite, another two contenders in the selection process have also been accused of having recruited new Labour party members in order to help their own chances of success in the process to select a candidate to replace Eric Joyce.

Joyce was expelled by Labour after being involved in a series of controversial incidents, one which ended with the former Labour MP being convicted of assault.

Labour claim the Unite union had attempted to rig the replacement process by flooding the constituency with new members in an attempt at ensuring its own preferred candidate was chosen.  However the union hit back accusing the Labour party of running a smear campaign and singling out Scottish Labour MPs, Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander.

It has also emerged that details of an internal investigation carried out by Labour, which was kept secret, have been leaked to Channel 4 news and reveals that others involved in the selection process may also have been recruiting new Labour party members.

According to Channel 4 reporter, Michael Crick, one man said to have tried to recruit new members and who paid the fee of £130 himself was Gregory Poynton – himself a contender to replace Eric Joyce.

Mr Crick also revealed that Poynton’s wife, Labour MP Gemma Doyle, is a member of Scottish Labour MP Jim Murphy’s Shadow Defence team.  The Channel 4 reporter suggested the links to Murphy may have been part of the reason for the report remaining secret.

Mr Crick wrote: “Why does Mr Poynton’s recruitment activity matter?

“First because he’s married to Gemma Doyle, the young Scottish MP who is a member of Labour’s Commons defence team under Jim Murphy.  And second, Mr Poynton is the London political director of the firm Blue State Digital, which has a contract to provide campaigning work for the Labour party.

“With that, and all the allegations about Unite recruiting dozens of new members in Falkirk without their knowledge, and seemingly against the rules, no wonder Labour big-wigs decided to keep the Falkirk report secret.”

Murphy (pictured) launched a bitter attack on the trade union yesterday after it called the decision by Labour to seize control of the selection process as “political in character” and “results from a desire from some in the party to minimise trade union involvement in parliamentary selections”

The East Renfrewshire MP told BBC News: “Something had gone really badly wrong in Falkirk when it came to the selection of the Labour candidate.

“I don’t blame the people locally – there’s clearly been some external interference.  And while trade unions are an important part of a society and our politics, there seems to be one trade union in particular that’s well and truly overstepped the mark.

“It’s clear that Unite don’t run the Labour party; Ed Miliband does.  And we should never confuse those two things.”

Responding to Mr Murphy’s comments, Unite Chief Len McCluskey warned Labour leader Ed Miliband that he would be: “cast into the dustbin of history” if he allowed himself to be seduced by Scottish Labour MPs Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander.

“If he [Ed Miliband] gets seduced by the Jim Murphys and the Douglas Alexanders, then the truth is that he’ll be defeated and he’ll be cast into the dustbin of history.”

Some members of the Unite union were allowed to read the secret report and immediately criticised Labour’s move, calling it an “extreme over-reaction”.

According to Mr Crick, one other candidate was also suspected of having recruited members in order to help her own chances of selection.  Local councillor, Linda Gow, denies the allegation.

Commenting on the ongoing controversy, Angus MacDonald, SNP MSP for Falkirk East, said:

“The people of Falkirk deserve so much better.  Time and time again they have been let down by Labour – it is time for a change.

“Local people were first let down by Labour by the behaviour of Eric Joyce, and they have been let down by Labour all over again with their party’s candidate selection scandal.

“This is a hugely serious issue – yet all we have had is silence from Johann Lamont, who is supposed to be leader of Labour’s Scottish Westminster MPs.  Unless Ms Lamont gets a grip of this crisis, she is confirming that the shots are all being called by the real Labour bosses in London.

“The people of Falkirk should be able to elect a new MP – there ought to be a by-election, and the sooner the better.”


2013-07-04 00:03


The people of Falkirk deserve so much better. Time and time again they have been let down by Labour – it is time for a change.

Indeed. Considering I stay there ^.


There ought to be a by-election, and the sooner the better.


Will C
2013-07-04 00:16

It has been clear from the minute she was appointed as the leader of Labour in Scotland, that Johann Lamont has as much say as me in the governance of her party and I am a member of the SNP!
This fiasco exposes just how corrupt the Labour movement has become. The Labour Party in Scotland is no longer fit for purpose. Labour voters should look to Allan Grogan and Labour for Independence to reinvigorate their party, otherwise there will be no Labour Party involvement in the building of a new and independent Scotland.
2013-07-04 00:31

I just wonder where in this great debate the interests and rights of the people of Falkirk lie. It is as if Labour have such a strong sense of entitlement to the seat that it is reduced to a tiff between factions.

Johann remains firmly in control of Scottish Labour. Well perhaps not firmly but the leader. Maybe not leader – shall we settle for figurehead……………..oh forget it!
2013-07-04 03:07

This has to be the most corrupt and equally inept raft of Labour politicians to have come on stage at the same time ever.

Even if Murphy is right to question the degree of influence being demanded by Unite, there is a mountain of suspicion now associated with a prospective candidate who is directly linked to his camp.

If Denis Canavan felt up to it he should stand for Labour for Independence, he could sweep the board and drive the message home, right to the heart of Westminster.It dovetails very nicely with the YES campaign also.
Leader of the Pack
2013-07-04 07:35

Well Duh! The unions have finally woken up to the fact that Corporate sponsored New Tory Labour have an anti Union agenda. It took them long enough.
2013-07-04 07:39

This is looking quite serious for Labour, both north and south. What happens if this union turns off the money tap?

Murphy and Alexander seem to attract the same level of disdain from this union as they do from nationalists and others in Scotland.

A measure of how damaging this is can be heard when BBC Scotland reporters begin to stammer and pause when reporting it. Radio Scotland this morning left out the Unite attacks on Murphy and Alexander.
2013-07-04 07:55

I cant help wondering if all this has been “deliberate” to take the light away from other matters! In the first part yes what started off as a selection problem and could have been played low key,but it was encouraged to blow-up.There are other things going on,just haven’t spotted what they are yet.
willie boy
2013-07-04 08:19

Most illuminating that Gemma Doyle’s London husband is being promoted as the prefered choice.

Ms Doyles’s selection as candidate for Dumbarton eas another rigged affair where the retiring MP delayed his trial notice whetrafter the London party impoded a truncated selection process with a restricted all woman list.

Local members were outraged but London got it’s way, and it’s choice, and now it’s her London husbands turn.
call me dave
2013-07-04 09:36

I heard MP Wullie Bain on GMS a wee while back explain it all. Three times in fact using the same words (rote learning eh!)

Wullie regretted the fact that because it was an internal enquiry he couldn’t possibly comment in public on the details.

Well that’s all right then. .

Lamont, he said, may or may not have made a contribution, but as it was a process for selecting an MP London Labour are in charge.

Well that’s all right then. . .nothing to worry about. . .move along.
2013-07-04 10:06

Re the “Silence of the Lamont” issue, I agree with Clootie that she is only the nominal figurehead of the Labour group in Holyrood. She is also the claimed leader of ALL Scottish MPs elected to Westminster – aye, right! The trouble is, no-one seems to have told the MPs!

Frankly Ms Lamont seems to have nothing of importance to say on any political matter. In fact her only verbal utterances occur in her weakly weekly scripted diatribes at FMQs, which consist mainly of cheap jibes aimed at the First Minister.
2013-07-04 12:05

O/T – You’ll soon be hit with a survey telling you that people paying bedroom tax think it’s affordable.

A friend of mine was summoned to his local rent office. He was supposed to fill out a questionnaire, but the lady did it for him.

He was to mark down between 1 and 5 how confident he was of paying it. He told her not very confident as things are very tight. She kept saying we’ll come back to that question. Eventually SHE put down “4” “VERY confident.” He protested that he was always struggling for money, but it fell on deaf ears.
2013-07-04 12:44

You can’t say Murphy doesn’t tell it like it is. His statement on the news last night when questioned about Falkirk and Unite was;
“This is the Labour Party. Ed Milliband is in charge”.

Not a cheep about it being Scottish Labour and Ms Lamont supposed to be in charge.
Old Smokey
2013-07-04 13:14

Extract from the leaked Uniteletter:
I attended the Scottish Labour Party conference where Unite, as usual played a very full part. The
Scottish trade union movement, with Unite in a leading position has taken a clear stance on the Scottish constitutional referendum of wait and see. Our membership has been extensively
consulted, and doesn’t want to be rushed to a decision without a full examination of the different positions. Unhappiness at campaigning alongside Tories has also been feature of our position. It is
to the credit of Scottish Unite that we have assisted Labour to realise that it must argue for a progressive future within the UK not simply around a dry constitutional position. After setting up the Devolution Commission at our behest, a new Labour led campaign has been established.
Unite will develop its position further in Scotland as matters progress – led by the Scottish Committee.
Steve Hart
Unite Political Director
2013-07-04 13:17

Don’t forget Murphy’s less than fulsome backing for Johan as the person to lead the fight against Alex Salmond in 2014 during his interview with Andrew Neil. Sorry, I’m on the phone and posting a Youtube link is tricky, but Neil was somewhat incredulous that Lamont would lead the fight running up to the referendum, and Murphy came across as little better impressed.

Know what? I’m actually finding it tiresome how much of the debate is being hogged by this slow motion car crash of the Labour party. There are so many more positive, uplifting and constructive things to be talking about. The future of Labour in an independent Scotland is optional, and seems to me they are opting out. Let them get on with it.
From The Suburbs
2013-07-04 13:27

Good article and only Sunday Herald has covered this in any depth.

Unite wanted an all women shortlist. The freepost envelope that came with the survey is for Unite’s London HQ. and
the name on the envelope was Stephen Deans, who is chairman of the local constituency party and chairman of Unite in Scotland.

Unite, backed Karie Murphy the office manager of high-profile Labour MP Tom Watson.

A one-time official in the Unison trade union, Murphy was named in a 2010 watchdog report that found as a Unison official she had wrongly incurred expenditure on Labour party political related activities.
A photo of the 87-year-old former Conservative Prime Minister was posted on left-winger Karie Murphy’s public Facebook page in January. It was emblazoned with the words: “One H*ll bound B*tch!”
Next to the picture, Ms Murphy, wrote: “Having a party when she dies.”
call me dave
2013-07-04 17:17

Stephen Deans, who is chairman of the local constituency party and chairman of Unite in Scotland.

He has just been suspended:
BBC Scotland radio.
call me dave
2013-07-04 17:36

Unite, backed Karie Murphy the office manager of high-profile Labour MP Tom Watson.
Also suspended. Unite preferred candidate.

It’s all happening. London Labour making sure that they are in charge.

2013-07-04 13:44

The ‘Best First Minister that Scotland never had’ told us the truth three years ago.

The ‘One and only One’ NuLabour Party are run by the NEC, regardless of what country you are in.

There have, as far as I can ascertain, not been any changes to accommodate the Scottish branch.

London rules!
2013-07-04 13:50

They should have kept Eric Joyce. Less trouble.
2013-07-04 15:44

And Tom Watson has now gone.

So who’s yanking whose chain? And whatever is being tugged it ain’t been done by JoLa; supreme leader-ene of what exactly?
2013-07-04 15:53


“ And Tom Watson has now gone “

Aye heraldnomore and his resignation letter can be found here:…/…

2013-07-04 16:01

I would love to see Macintosh/Watson etc come out and say that they are now joining LFI, that would surely be the final nail in the end of nulabour, don’t get me wrong I would only expect them to do it for “self preservation” reasons but it would be a comical Ally moment.
Dundonian West
2013-07-04 16:27

OT slightly- Party Leader takes refuge in shop from protester—-no,it isn’t Nigel Farage,it’s another leader two years ago.
Ian Gray former Labour Leader Scotland recently brought in from the cold by the current Leader Johann Lamont.
Iain Gray escapes the “killing fields” of Union Street,Glasgow.…/
2013-07-04 17:56

I see The Labour party have suspended Falkirk party chairman Stephen Deans and Karie Murphy and there is still no comment anywhere from the “Scottish” Labour leader.

No sign of Brian Taylor covering this, but Channel 4’s Michael Crick is on it, he’s even been to Falkirk. Perhaps he’ll hunt down Ms Lamont.
2013-07-04 17:57


I find,again, that access to is blocked when attempting to access in a Glasgow library. by Fortiguard as “unacceptable site
” by Glasgow District Council. This denies access to such sites by old Glasgow codgers like myself.
I have pointed this out on several occasions to SNP Glasgow Councillors who do not seem interested in such censorship which is a pity.
2013-07-05 01:52

He who pays the piper calls the tune Mr Murphy. That’s the circus you’ve been happy to be a part of all your political life. Tough love eh?

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