17th Oct, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn urges for 'openness and democracy' amid Coventry Labour Party in-fighting

Coventry Editorial 25th Feb, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

JEREMY Corbyn has spoken of the importance of ‘local democracy in the Labour Party’ after a former councillor was imposed as Sherbourne ward candidate ahead of May’s Coventry Council elections.

Speaking in Warwick today (Thursday) the Labour Party leader said while he would not directly intervene in political infighting between left- and right-wingers within the local party, he pledged his determination for transparency and democracy within all levels of the Labour Party.

Speaking to Observer news editor Lauren Clarke, Mr Corbyn said: “I don’t intervene in selections and I am not a leader who wishes to dictate over the party.

“We have appropriate systems of appeals so where there is a grievance, that grievance is dealt with.”

Pointing to the Labour Party’s growing membership, Mr Corbyn said he wanted to see local democracy ‘flourish’ in the increasingly diverse party.

He added: “There will inevitably be complications at certain times, and we have a process for investigating those and ultimately the national executive must make a decision.

“I am member of that national executive for the first time in my life and I am absolutely determined that we run an open and democratic party where everyone is welcome to take part so we get that broad representation in our political lives.”

Mr Corbyn’s comments follow the parachuting in of former Coventry City Council cabinet member Lynette Kelly to represent the Sherbourne ward in the upcoming local elections.

The move, sanctioned by unelected regional party officials, has infuriated left-wing Labour party members in Sherbourne who are now unable to chose their own candidate and see Mrs Kelly as loyal to Council leader Ann Lucas.

They had already voted for a shortlist of two candidates when West Midlands Labour party officials stepped in and suspended proceedings amid allegations from rival factions of procedural errors – allegations upon which no investigation findings were reported to the party, according to sources.

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