Snubbed Labour candidate slams party's 'crooked' selection process as Corbyn ally gets nod in plum seat

Posted On: 
13th November 2019

A Labour member beaten in the race for a plum seat by a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn has hit out at the party's "crooked" candidate selection process.

Claudia Webbe speaks at a pro-Corbyn rally during the 2016 Labour leadership contest.
Credit: 
PA Images

Sundip Meghani lost out to Claudia Webbe in the race to contest Labour-held Leicester East at the general election.

Islington councillor Ms Webbe is a member of Labour's ruling national executive committee and had tried unsuccessfully to be chosen as the party's candidate in a number of constituencies.

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She was chosen as the candidate in Leicester seat - which Keith Vaz held with a majority of more than 22,000 in 2017 - by a selection panel including two NEC members.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr Meghani, a lead investigator at the Independent Office for Police Conduct, said: "In my job I challenge abuse of power and corruption - and as a Labour member I fight injustice and unfairness.

"So I cannot stay silent on the obvious dodgy practices and nepotism involved in this process, where Labour's ruling executive chose a member of Labour's ruling executive as the candidiate."

He added: "This type of conduct, where a well-connected favourite is nodded through, is no better than the Etonian old boys' network that Labour seeks to condemn."

Mr Meghani, who is a former Labour councillor, also described the decision to choose Ms Webbe as "a slap in the face for the Indian community in Leicester and across Britain".

"It sends entirely the wrong message and is an insult to the people I come from," he said. "It shows just how little the Labour party values and respects the Indian community, particularly Hindus and Sikhs.

"Any other decent candidate would have been acceptable - it didn't necessarily have to be me.

"But by selecting such an inappropriate candidate for Leicester East, Labour has chosen to rub salt into the wound it has created amongst British Indians.

"Labour is taking the Indian vote for granted and I condemn this crooked outcome."

The decision to choose Ms Webbe has also been condemned by the Jewish Labour Movement over her previous support for Ken Livingstone when he was accused of anti-semitism.

Reacting to her selection, Ms Webbe told the LabourList website: “I am proud to be born and bred in Leicester, and that’s why I am honoured to have the opportunity to represent the Leicester East community, where my family still live, and to make a positive impact on the lives of local people.”

Keith Vaz had been the Leicester East MP since 1987, but announced he was retiring after being handed a six-month suspension from the Commons over a cocaine and prostitution scandal.

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