Keith Hanson kindly sent me this exchange (not) explaining why the Labour candidate for Handsworth Wood is being imposed. Members were sent a letter by Keith saying that if 20% wanted a selection then that would happen. Around 80 out of 130 eligible said they did. Now the Birmingham Labour Party, no doubt egged on by Keith, says they can’t do what the members asked. The argument is becoming complicated and taking on an ethnic dimension. It is really quite simple: that party members do not expect there to be impositions unless there is an urgent need to do so. The sitting councillor has been in place for three years and has been quite happy to go on without ward meetings over this period. Formerly councillors reported back to members at monthly meetings.Handsworth Wood Ward members were told by Keith, who was present at the last meeting (I wasn’t) that all ward meetings were informal until after the May elections, so it is impossible to conduct business like introducing resolutions etc! There’s democracy for you: Here we go….
“The Officers of The Birmingham Labour Party have nothing to add to the statement.”
West MIdlands Region,
Dear Mr. Mahmood Ahmed,
I am the chairman of the council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham, an umbrella organisation of all the Gurdwaras in Birmingham. Large numbers of our members are labour party supporters and are also labour party members and voters.
We had received complaints from a large number of the party members that the democratic method of electing a candidate for the forth coming election had not been followed. 80% of the members had expressed a desire in writing that there should be an open election for the candidate. In this respect I had addressed communication to Mr. Ian Reilly on the 2nd of February 07 a copy of which is attached herewith. I received a communication from Keith Hanson sending to me a statement dated 1st March 2007 duly signed by you as Chair of Birmingham Labour Party. I am therefore addressing this communication to you for assistance.
Before we effectively deal and/or challenge this statement, if necessary in a court of law, we have to ask you to give FURTHER AND BETTER PARTICULARS of this statement, a REQUEST for which is being made here under.
In the second paragraph of this statement, it is said inter alia:-
1. “This was clearly an orchestrated campaign as the bulk of the responses received were of a pro-forma nature and initial exploration indicates that a small number of members visited door to door and secured pro forma responses often on the back of misleading statements.”
a. As to “bulk of responses”
i. Please state the exact number of responses received.
ii. Please state the number of responses received which were other than of the pro-forma nature e.g. letters, etc.
iii. Please state the exact number of responses received that were of a pro-forma nature.
2. As to “initial exploration”:
i. Please state the names and the addresses of people who carried out this initial exploration.
ii. Please state reasons for the necessity of carrying out such initial exploration.
iii. Please state fully the nature of this initial exploration
3. As to “a small number of members visited door to door and secured pro-forma responses.”
i. Please state the exact number of such members who visited door to door.
ii. Please state their full names and addresses of such members who visited door to door.
iii. Please state the exact number of such door to door visits.
iv. Please state full addresses of the doors visited.
4. As to “secured pro-forma responses often on the back of misleading statement.”
i. Please state fully as to what is meant by “on the back of”.
ii. Please state fully the text of the alleged “misleading statements”
iii. Please state fully name and addresses of people who are said to have made these “misleading statements”
iv. Please state fully names and addresses of people to who such alleged “misleading statements” were made.
5. As to “the Regional Director considered these matters.”
i. Please state fully the text of the matters that the Regional Director considered.
6. As to “referred the issue to the Birmingham Labour Party”
i. Please state fully as to the manner in which the matters were referred to the Birmingham Labour party.
ii. If verbal – full text of it.
iii. If in writing, please send a copy of such written reference.
7. As to “gave careful consideration to this issue” in the last but one of the statement.
i. Please state the issue that was considered.
8. As to “It was decided to discount the pro-forma responses.”
i. Please state the number of the pro-forma responses that were discounted.
ii. Please state the reason for discounting such pro-forma responses.
Please let us have your response within three days of the date here of failing which we will be entitle to assume that you have no responses to make to the questions asked. These responses are sought in the interest of the Party, it’s good governance, its policy of transparency and openess.
These responses are sought because the large number of members feel that they are not listened to and are agrieved.
Please note a hard copy of this email is being sent to The Prime Minister for his information.
We have evidence from members who had expressed there desire in writing for full selection that when they wrote by email to Mr. Keith Hanson asking for the result of such request. Persuant to which, the sitting candidate Paulette Hamilton visited such members the following day enquiring why they were against her as they had sent an email to Mr. Keith Hanson. This gives us cause for concern suggesting a possible collusion.
Sewa Singh Mandla
The Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham
The Birmingham Labour Party
Birmingham City Council Election 3 May 2007
Selection of candidate for Handsworth Wood Ward
Last year The Labour Party Regional Office initiated procedures to select candidates for 2007.
In the case of the fourteen sitting councillors, who were seeking re-selection, and who had received a satisfactory report from the chief whip and the local party, the procedure took the form of a trigger consultation. Members who were not happy with their sitting Councillor and wanted a full selection were invited to write to the Regional Office indicating that they wanted a ‘full selection process’.
Across thirteen wards one letter was received seeking a full selection process. The situation was qualitatively different in the Handsworth Wood ward where a large number of responses were received. This was clearly an orchestrated campaign as the bulk of the responses received were of a pro-forma nature and initial exploration indicates that a small number of members visited door to door and secured pro forma responses often on the back of misleading statements.
The Regional Director considered these matters and referred the issue to The Birmingham Labour Party who considered it, together with all other candidate selection issues, at its meeting on Friday 17 January.
The Birmingham Labour Party, consisting of delegates drawn from all the Birmingham Constituency Parties, trade unions etc., gave careful consideration to this issue. It was decided to discount the pro forma responses. Having done so the trigger threshold was not met and the sitting Councillor was reselected.
The Birmingham Labour Party remains committed to its role of reflecting the interests of all the progressive elements of the different communities in the city and to ensuring that all Labour elected public representatives recognise and support this inclusive position.
Thursday, 22 March 2007
Note Keith Hanson is Secretary of the Birmingham Labour Party which we worked to get re-instated for democratic reasons. I understand the Chair was agent to one of the councillors thrown out on a charge of postal vote fraud, so there you go.