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Labour Secretary to stand down

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Cllr. Eddie DarkeNorth Tyneside councillor in protest move

I cannot say I particularly blame Cllr. Eddie Darke (pictured), secretary of Labour’s North Tyneside General Committee who has decided not to stand again for the position in protest at the Labour Party’s moves to force all women short lists on to local constituencies when considering finding candidates for the general election. The move was designed to forcefully boost the number of women in the House of Commons and like Conservative Leader David Cameron’s much feted “A list” almost set up a quota system for candidates from varying backgrounds.

Cllr Darke, one of three Labour members in Longbenton has said:

“It seems to me that the national Labour party could not care less about the membership who do all the work on the ground.”

He reacted after after a meeting to decide on the future of the Wallsend seat was held without him and around 19 women had offered themselves as the candidate to replace retiring MP and former minister Stephen Byers.

In an email to Party leaders seen by The Journal’s Adrian Pearson he added:

“As the national Labour party have shown me no respect, after 28 years as an officer of the constituency I will not be standing for secretary at the AGM in February as I feel that I have been kicked in the teeth by the national Labour party and I will be seriously considering what role I play in the general election, if any.”

It has been suggested that Wallsend was being forced to accept an all woman shortlist in order to maker it easier for NUM president Ian Lavery to go for the Wansbeck seat in Northumberland.
I’m pretty sure that many local parties resent the centre telling them how to run their affairs and I’m equally sure that party leaderships nationally do not trust local Labour parties or Conservative Associations to create a pool of worthwhile candidates covering many diverse interests and sections of the community.

However,direct rule from the centre can never be good for local democracy as it removes far too much choice from local people and local communities and the more favoured option to select Parliamentary candidates surely has to be the open primaries trialled by some Conservative Associations recently and seen as such a big success that they are continuing, by opening up the process to a wider body of opinion and introducing secret postal ballots we are far more likely to appoint candidates on merit and with a wider base of support in the community, thus creating more cohesion between the candidates, the local party, and the local electorate.

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Written by curly

February 8, 2010 at 5:43 pm

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