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Thursday, April 05, 2012

When candidates fall out with each other

All political parties have their problems from time to time. There is only one qualification needed to pursue a political career, a large ego. Thus candidates occasionally consider themselves bigger than the party and take their own path. More frequently they think they are bigger than the team they are part of and go off on a tangent.

Whatever the explanation, unilateral action by the husband of one Labour candidate in Swansea has succeeded in getting his wife into hot water. The Western Mail reports, that controversial former Labour MP, Bob Clay is at the centre of a bitter row that has torn apart a party branch and led to personal attacks on its top official in Wales.

Last Friday, following a long-running conflict in the city’s Llansamlet ward branch of the Labour Party, both the Clays had their memberships suspended pending an investigation.

Mrs Clay was due to be a candidate in the ward at next month’s council elections, but her suspension from the party would have barred her from standing.

Earlier this week an anonymous posting appeared on a Labour-linked website called Left Futures in which Welsh Labour’s general secretary David Hagendyk was accused of engineering Mrs Clay’s suspension.

Then on Tuesday Mrs Clay’s suspension was lifted following the intervention of party figures from London. Yesterday she was confirmed as a council candidate.

Party sources have confirmed that Mrs Clay was selected as a candidate in February last year, moving into the Llansamlet ward with her husband in August. Subsequently there was a series of acrimonious branch meetings which resulted in a number of complaints made by members to Welsh Labour. The relationship between the Clays and sitting Labour councillors in the ward broke down completely.

Last November a vote was held in the branch to deselect Mrs Clay as a candidate, but it was ruled unconstitutional as no notice had been given of the vote.

Welsh Labour officials then met with the candidates and local party officials, reaching an agreement which included a requirement that all candidates should work together and that only materials produced by the party and involving all candidates were to be distributed.

But relationships continued to deteriorate and following two particularly difficult meetings, the branch was suspended by Welsh Labour on January 23.

In February it was agreed that all four candidates could stand, but that Swansea East Labour Party would be made responsible for the campaign.

Sources say that in mid-March, contrary to the agreement, a separate leaflet was put out, resulting in the suspension of the Clays following discussion with Swansea East party officers.

Things have now been patched up and Uta Clay has been allowed to stand, though her husband remains suspended from the Labour Party. Still, it is not an ideal way to start an election campaign.

There is more here about what has been going on in the Llansamlet branch.
Can you explain what you mean by 'Welsh Labour'?

Looks like the LDs are in for a kicking in Swansea. Trouble is you're likely to be replaced by another bunch of incompetents.

Is this another comment of mine which is going to disappear into the LD ether?
This is the same branch that deselected Labour's only ethnic councillor (Yvonne Jardine) and got itself into deep trouble with the REC over a racist leaflet that criminalised travellers.
Lippy says:

It would seem that wherever the Clays have decided to 'hang their hats', they bring trouble along with them.
It is quite obvious that they have their own agenda.
send in clays to lose party members thats what happened in LLamsamlet
See what money does for them! all afraid of losing their cash payments. No principle or backbone just
give us the cash! I think I'll start a campaign to reduce the county councillors as we should start the process
of removing the layers of government we are paying for. If we have a 60 seat assembly to administer a population
0f 3.5 million do we really need huge layers of county and district councillors plus the administration grades that
accompany these overblown and over indulged pompous idiots.
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