March 12 2014 Latest news:
Robin Cottle, Reporter
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
The Ilford North constituency has been drawn into the membership fraud scandal that is engulfing the Labour party.
Bob Neill, the vice-chairman of the Conservatives has claimed that Unite offered free Labour party membership in exchange for attending a meeting in the constituency with the union’s leader Len McCluskey.
Mr Neill has written to the Met commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe to ask him to investigate the claims, as well as similar allegations surrounding the constituency of Lewisham in south-east London.
He described the Falkirk selection scandal as the “tip of the iceberg.”
It saw Labour hand over evidence to police in Scotland last week about claims Unite tried to fix the result of a candidate selection by packing the constituency with members, whose subscriptions the union paid for.
A source at the London Labour party said there is no proof in the allegations and they have no evidence of any wrongdoing.
He continued: “This is a silly political stunt. We have no evidence of possible criminal behaviour anywhere outside Falkirk.
“If Bob Neill has evidence, he should produce it now. If not, he should stop wasting police time.”
The Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst alleged in his letter to Sir Bernard that Ilford North is just one of 40 other constituencies Unite are targeting for similar treatment, a claim firmly denied by the union.
A spokesman for Unite said: “The Conservatives are wasting police time and are engaging in a disgraceful political witch-hunt.
“We strenuously reject any suggestion of criminality or that we’ve broken Labour party rules.”