Some members unhappy with process to select new councillors
Some members of the Ealing Conservative Group are furious over what they claim was a 'rigged' selection process to find two replacement councillors.
Five members of the party in Ealing Broadway ward have written to the local party chairman saying that the selection of candidates has not been carried out in accordance with mandatory rules laid down last year.
Hanger Hill Conservative, Joy Morrissey and Ealing Broadway representative Alex Stafford were elected as MPs in the last election and will be standing down from their roles as local Councillors.
The Conservatives have to chose other candidates to stand in those relatively safe Tory wards but the recent selection process has caused huge political in-fighting.
Cllr Greg Stafford
It's being claimed that the rules were bent and members were effectively coerced into agreeing an 'Emergency Process' - normally reserved for where a by-election has already been called, in a bid to rush through a selection process just before Christmas. It is alleged that this was orchestrated by Cllr Greg Stafford to try and get his father and friends shortlisted. He has categorically denied these claims.
Around 30 applications were received and opponents say the sifting committee who they believe to be an 'inner clique' shortlisted close friends of Cllr Stafford - including his father James.
A joint appeal was lodged by some members unhappy over the process which they say was rushed through on 26 February - they called it 'a shambles and a total stitch-up'.
Following protests over a potential conflict of interests, the Association Chair was replaced at the appeal at the last moment by a member of the Area Management Committee who the disaffected members say is a close friend of both Gregory and Alex Stafford.
It's alleged that the 32 page appeal document had not been circulated in advance and only Executive members could vote - the same people who approved the selection process.
The disaffected Conservative members want to highlight what they see as problems within the local party and specifically with their leader who has been selected as the GLA candidate for Ealing and Hillingdon.
One of the group making the complaint, who asked not to be named, said, ''What we have witnessed last few weeks raises questions as to his fitness to be candidate. This has potential to be very embarrassing to the Prime Minister, the Conservative Party of which we are members of and the 'fob off' processes used to silence grassroots members when circumstances turn awry.''
We have asked Councillor Gregory Stafford about the allegations and he told us, ''I don't comment on internal Party matters. However, I did not take part in the selection procedure, so any claims are totally false.''
March 3, 2020