Row over shortlist for marginal Halifax parliamentary seat

Karie Murphy, a former Labour candidate who was caught up in a vote-rigging row.
Karie Murphy, a former Labour candidate who was caught up in a vote-rigging row.

A former Labour candidate who was caught up in a vote-rigging row says she has not been included on a shortlist to be the party’s candidate in a marginal seat.

Karie Murphy said she had been contacted by a “significant” number of party members in Halifax, where the sitting MP, Linda Riordan, is standing down.

But she revealed she was not on a shortlist drawn up by a Labour panel ahead of a final decision on Saturday.

She said: “I am disappointed that the Labour Party advised the media of my exclusion from the selection list more than three hours before they informed me.

“It is a credit that the shortlist is made up of so many local woman, this is a new and welcome precedent for the Labour Party but it’s regrettable that it wasn’t applied more rigorously in the past.”

Ms Murphy decided not to stand as Labour’s candidate in Falkirk in 2013 over allegations that the Unite union tried to manipulate the selection process in her favour.

The union and Ms Murphy were both subsequently cleared of any wrong-doing, but the episode led Labour leader Ed Miliband to announce reforms to the party’s links with unions.

Mrs Riordan, who has represented Halifax for the past 10 years, wrote to Labour last week, warning the party was in “very real danger” of losing the seat unless a candidate was selected soon.

She announced last month she was retiring on health grounds, stressing someone should be chosen as a “matter of urgency” given the slim 1,472 majority Labour is defending.