Miliband: No need for new Falkirk investigation

Labour leader Ed Miliband: "We've taken comprehensive action in Falkirk"

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Labour leader Ed Miliband has refused to commit to a fresh inquiry into allegations of vote-rigging by the Unite union in Falkirk.

He insisted he had taken comprehensive action and acted "swiftly and thoroughly" in the case.

The Labour leader added that he was determined the furore over Falkirk, where the local party is in special measures, would not be repeated.

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling has said the inquiry should be reopened.

In September, Labour said it had cleared the Unite union of trying to rig the selection process for a parliamentary candidate in Falkirk, where the current MP, Eric Joyce, is standing down.

It said the decision had been made after "key evidence" had been "withdrawn".

Preferred candidate

A Labour spokesman on Monday said the party had re-interviewed an important witness, Lorraine Kane, but she had said nothing to justify reopening the inquiry.

Mrs Kane and husband, Michael, were alleged to have had their memberships of the Labour Party paid for by Unite on the basis that they would support the union's preferred candidate for the Falkirk seat. Unite denies the allegations.

Speaking at an event in central London, Mr Miliband said the parliamentary candidate at the centre of the selection row was no longer in place.

The ruling body of the party was now running the selection process, he added, saying nobody who had been recruited during the period covering the allegations would be able to vote in the selection for a new candidate.

However, Mr Miliband said he would look at any new evidence presented.

He added that he had acted "swiftly" and said: "I am absolutely determined that we do not have a repeat of Falkirk anywhere."

'List of allegations'

The police in Scotland are continuing to look at emails sent by the current chairman of the Falkirk constituency, Stephen Deans.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Darling told BBC Scotland he believed something had "gone very wrong in Falkirk" and there "needed to be a thorough investigation" by Labour.

But Unite said the earlier inquiry amounted to no more than a "list of allegations" and union members who were part of the selection process had not been spoken to.

"On grounds of natural justice alone, and without considering further the adequacy or otherwise of the report, it could not be considered a final investigation into what had occurred in Falkirk," the union said in a statement.

"It was, at most, a 'case for the prosecution', without the defence being called."

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