THE delay in Labour selecting a candidate to fight for the marginal seat of Halifax is down to a battle with the Unite union, it has been suggested.
Sitting MP Linda Riordan announced last month she would not be seeking re-election in May.
But despite the fact Labour held the seat by a margin of just 1,472 votes in 2010 and is facing a strong challenge from the Conservatives, it has been slow to select a new candidate.
According to The Sunday Times, the Unite union is keen to see Karie Murphy, who was at the centre of the row over the selection of the party’s Falkirk candidate, shortlisted for Halifax.
Ms Murphy withdrew from the Falkirk selection race as the process was plagued with allegations of vote-rigging. She was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal inquiry.
It was reported Labour leader Ed Miliband is resisting Unite’s pressure believing it could damage the party’s prospects in a seat it must hold on to if it wants to have a chance of forming the next Government.
Labour’s failure to select a candidate has given a boost to Conservative candidate Philip Allott who narrowly missed out on the seat five years ago.
Labour activists in Halifax are known to be concerned about the party being seen to parachute in a candidate from outside to contest the seat against Mr Allott who can claim a long connection to Halifax.