Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has today dropped the parliamentary candidate for Bassetlaw who was selected just a week ago.
The party’s governing body was meeting to confirm its final list of General Election candidates, and decided not to endorse Londoner Sally Gimson for the constituency.
It is understood that the committee was presented with evidence of complaints about Gimson’s past behaviour, including very serious allegations concerning protected characteristics such as race, gender, sexuality, and disability.
Denying the accusations, Sally said: “I have been thrown out on trumped up charges that only came to light five days ago.
“From the outset, I was not the preferred candidate – a Londoner from Keir Starmer’s constituency and a firm Remainer.”
She added: “The NEC had already worked to keep Bassetlaw applicants off the longlist and I got through the process with the belief that the favoured candidate would annihilate me.
“Their calculations were wrong and my strong campaign, speaking and meeting with local members meant that I won the selection on Sunday, October 29.”
Unconfirmed reports from Labour insiders are circulating online, suggesting complainants alleged that Sally shouted at a disabled party member at a Holborn and St Pancras Labour branch meeting.
However, the Worksop Guardian has learned that it is not true that complaints only concern behaviour in a CLP meeting.
It is also not the case that all of the complaints emerged only after Sally was selected.
The Worksop Guardian has been presented with numerous accounts from fellow members of Holborn and St Pancras defending Sally’s record as an activist and executive officer.
An official statement from Holborn and St Pancras said: “At no point was the CLP contacted by the NEC regarding these complaints and there has never been any prima facie evidence provided to the CLP that would warrant any formal investigation into Sally Gimson’s conduct at any of our meetings.”
The Labour Party rule book clearly states that all Labour Party candidates must receive endorsement from the NEC.
If evidence as to why a candidate should not be endorsed comes to light, an NEC panel conducts an interview.
Sally said: “On Monday, I was subjected to an interview over the phone where they would not give me the detail of the complaints, who had made them, they would not consider my witness statements, would not tape the meeting and ended the meeting before we had gone through all the issues.
“I was threatened not to tell anyone about what was happening and the consequences of this have kept me silent so far.”
She added: “I have been condemned by a kangaroo court. Transparency, openness and democracy has been thrown out of the window.
“I am the democratically-selected candidate of Bassetlaw Labour Party, I have the full backing of their executive and their anger is overwhelming.
“Bassetlaw is the Tory’s 52nd target seat, we are a Labour marginal and this nonsense is throwing the seat away. Playing political games in Bassetlaw is the last thing that this area needs.”
Lawyers from Mishcon de Reya, acting on Sally’s behalf, have already written to the party’s general secretary Jennie Formby to challenge the decision and question whether the NEC itself acted within the rules.
The situation has also reignited criticism of the way the Bassetlaw selection process has been conducted.
Last month, district council leader Simon Greaves failed to make a shortlist which included none of the leading local candidates, leading to accusations that the process was being ‘stitched up’ by figures on the left of the party.
Sally’s selection was hailed by opponents of the left as a victory for the more ‘centrist’ factions.
John Mann, who resigned as the constituency’s MP to take up a job with the Tory Government, said: “Bassetlaw people will not vote for a stooge imposed by the Corbyn cult in London.
“First they ‘lose’ the applications of two local councillors, including our council leader, then they suddenly get anonymous trumped up allegations, immediately contradicted by those present, about an alleged argument in a Labour Party meeting in London.”
He added: “Everyone can see what is going on and local people deserve better than to be treated in this disgusting way.”
At the time of publication, no announcement had been made regarding any replacement candidate.
This is a developing story, which will be updated as further details emerge.