Labour to select third Moulsecoomb and Bevendean candidate tomorrow

Posted On 24 Oct 2014 at 6:24 pm

The Labour Party is to select a candidate to replace Councillor Leigh Farrow in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean ward at a meeting tomorrow morning (Saturday 25 October).

Councillor Farrow, 59, has been deselected and the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean Branch Labour Party is currently suspended.

As a result the branch chairman Robert Brown will not be chairing the selection meeting which starts at 11am at St George’s Hall in Newick Road, Moulsecoomb.

Councillor Leigh Farrow

Councillor Leigh Farrow

Christmas collections

His place will be taken by Laurence O’Connor, a member of Meridian Branch Labour Party which serves Peacehaven, Telscombe Cliffs and East Saltdean.

Local party members have been told that they may attend the selection meeting even though their branch is suspended.

They have also been told that, if necessary, members of the Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party Executive Committee will choose the candidate.

Councillor Farrow was banned from standing in May next year for one of the ward’s three seats – currently all held by Labour – after a disciplinary process ended last month. This process was handled by the regional party.

It upheld claims that Councillor Farrow had sworn at his colleague Councillor Chaun Wilson before a meeting of the Brighton and Hove City Council Housing Committee at Hove Town Hall in June.

Councillor Farrow maintains that he did not swear at Councillor Wilson but in her presence. It is not the first time that his manner has been the subject of a complaint.

Daniel Yates

Daniel Yates

Branch party members were not due to be told who the potential candidates are for the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean vacancy until arriving at the meeting tomorrow.

But, according to the Brighton and Hove Independent, they were due to be local writer Dan Wilson and NHS manager and physiotherapist Daniel Yates.

Mr Yates stood as a parliamentary candidate in East Worthing and Shoreham in 2001 and 2005 where Tim Loughton is the Conservative MP.

He was also, the Independent said, a prime mover behind the creation of the citywide Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party in 2012. It was formed from a merger of the three separate constituency parties.

His chances look better because Mr Wilson has withdrawn from the selection contest for one of Labour’s safest seats in Brighton and Hove.

He said on Twitter: “Sadly I couldn’t face the toxic whirlpool of recrimination surrounding M&B.”

And he also said: “Executive, cllrs, members, others. Noone is blameless. Residents lose. V sad.”

The situation in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean was discussed at a meeting of the citywide Labour Party on Wednesday (22 October).

The Independent reported that about 70 of the local party’s 1,500 members attended the meeting in the Dorset Gardens Methodist Church in Brighton.

The meeting went into “closed session” to discuss Moulsecoomb and Bevendean to try to prevent further leaks.

One of the reasons given for the suspension of the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean Branch Labour Party was “a series of leaks of confidential internal Labour Party information and communications from the branch to the local media”.

The other was “that despite advice to the contrary, the branch met and commented publically (sic) on a matter relating to an outstanding local government appeal”.

Members were told that the branch was likely to remain suspended until December and the end of an investigation that was being set up by regional director Malcolm Powers.

The Independent said that Mr Powers had yet to write to members outlining what form any investigation into the branch would take.

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