Labour should not field election candidates in South Shields until suspension is over, claims UKIP

South Shields Town Hall
South Shields Town Hall

Political opponents claim that problem-hit South Shields Constituency Labour Party (CLP) should be banned from next month’s election.

The party has been suspended from the national organisation until next year after a probe revealed a culture of bullying and intimidation in its ranks.

Labour suspends its South Shields branch over ‘bullying and intimidation’

Labour North, which has now taken over the day-to-day administration, has said the move will not have an impact on the local elections on May 5.

Henry Pearce, a UKIP candidate in May’s elections for the Westoe ward, says his party’s legal team is liaising with the Electoral Commission about whether this contravenes electoral law.

Mr Pearce said: “It beggars belief that members from South Shields CLP have the audacity to put themselves forward as candidates in the forthcoming local elections.

“As members of the CLP, they are suspended and they cannot truthfully stand as representatives of the Labour Party until that suspension is lifted.

“We, and all right-thinking people in this town, will think it is an absolute outrage that prospective Labour councillors from South Shields CLP carry on as if nothing has happened.

“UKIP’s national legal team are in liaison with the Electoral Commission as we speak, about whether this contravenes electoral law.”

Mr Pearce is also calling on Labour North to reveal the detailed findings of its investigations, which were carried out by a senior party official.

A statement from Labour North last week said: “The investigation has found that there is a genuine problem in the relationships between some members, and there is a deep separation of different parts of the local party that is not seen in other CLPs. Labour will not accept bullying and intimidation in any form.”

Mr Pearce added: “We, and the people of South Shields, demand that this report is published in its entirety so that we can see exactly who the instigators are of this bullying and intimidation.

“The Labour Party have been in power in South Tyneside since time immemorial and South Shields CLP have been indicted for a culture of bullying and intimidation.”

A spokesman for Labour North said: “We are a national political party registered with the Electoral Commission and as such are entitled to stand candidates at all elections in England, Scotland and Wales.

“Internal disciplinary measures or investigations involving local parties has no bearing on our right to stand candidates at elections.”

He added: “We have nothing to add to our original statement on the findings of the investigation into South Shields CLP.”