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LABOUR TO IMPOSE 'MODERATES ONLY' WALSALL SHORTLIST

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Labour's national executive committee decided yesterday that it would draw up the shortlist for party candidates in...
Labour's national executive committee decided yesterday that it would draw up the shortlist for party candidates in next year's council elections at Walsall MBC, reports The Birmingham Post (p3).

The NEC hopes the move will ultimately deprive the left-wing faction headed by council leader Dave Church of a majority within the Labour group, according to the paper.

Other measures decided upon by the NEC were:

- to send in independent consultants to judge whether the council's plans to establish neighbourhood committees and lay off senior officers are unlawful

- to instruct Labour party officials to reconstitute Walsall Labour party and hold a new annual general meeting

- to send a delegation headed by Labour deputy leader John Prescott to Walsall to try to bring the factions together

The paper quotes a Labour party spokesman: 'This action shows how seriously we are taking the situation if Walsall persist in going it alone. We want to be sure that Walsall Council consults the people over its plans.'

Meanwhile, cllr Church repeated his warning that some Walsall councillors were considering legal action against shadow environment secretary Frank Dobson over remarks he made about the running of the local Labour party.

'There's no question of there being any bullying,' Mr Church said.

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