This is an email sent to party colleagues by Labour London Assembly and Tower Hamlets mayoral hopeful John Biggs. It was sent following Lutfur Rahman’s legal challenge to the selection process, which I broke here on Sunday evening.
The email and its angry and disappointed tone speaks for itself.
Yesterday, following a complaint,the selection procedure for the Labour candidate for the first directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, was suspended by the National Executive of the Labour Party. The NEC will re-interview all the long-listed candidates this Saturday, the 17th July, and construct a new shortlist. I have been invited for re-interview, and informed that the all-member ballot will now take place on Saturday, 31st July. All members will receive a formal notice of this.
Over the past few weeks I have been deeply honoured by the number of people who have offered their help and support. It has been a humbling experience. I want you to know that I remain passionately committed to Tower Hamlets, my home for nearly 30 years, and remain keen to serve as its first directly elected Mayor and, if I win, to become the unifying force Tower Hamlets Labour Party and the wider community needs. Once the new shortlist has been published I will be able to make a decision about how to proceed.
We were just five days from polling day after several weeks of entirely comradely campaigning. I am very proud of all three candidates, myself included, at the way we have conducted ourselves and feel strongly that to re-start the process at such a late stage is puzzling and obviously very disappointing. I am disappointed that, as appears to be the case, a person or group of people with access to enough money to threaten the Party with legal action it cannot afford if they do not get their way, can hold the party to ransom. However, I am happy to stand for selection against any member who is shortlisted, and simply hope for the privilege to be able to do this.
I hope that the process may be resolved satisfactorily but in the meantime I wanted to let you know the situation. If you have any queries, please contact me at this email address or, for a quicker reply, email@example.com or by calling or texting me on xxxxx.
Finally, for your information, the press statement issued by the Labour Party on Monday evening reads:
“Following a complaint regarding the procedure to select Labour’s candidate in this autumn’s elections for the first directly elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets, the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee has this evening agreed to re-run the shortlisting process.
“The complaint has been looked at carefully. While the Labour Party does not accept that it has any substance, to ensure transparency and fairness to all potential candidates, all long-listed candidates will be re-interviewed by a different panel to be appointed by the NEC.
“A new time-table will be announced in the coming days.”