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Labour Party Newham mayor to face re-selection challenge

UNDER-FIRE Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales is to face a re-selection challenge after local Labour members successfully argued that rules were broken when he was re-endorsed by the party last year.

Mr Wales, who has headed the east London council since 1995, has been embroiled in a series of controversies around the gentrification of the deprived borough, including using taxpayers’ cash to help West Ham take over the Olympic Stadium.

He has also faced the ire of housing campaigners, including single mothers evicted from a local hostel.

In 2015 Mr Wales was found to have breached the borough’s code of conduct after he shouted at Jasmin Stone, one of the campaigner mums.

Under Labour rules, directly elected mayors face a vote on whether to reopen selections before every election, termed a trigger ballot. The system sees each membership branch in the constituency and each affiliated union vote on whether the incumbent should be re-adopted or the contest opened up.

Mr Wales was declared the winner of the latest ballot in December 2016.

But local members challenged this result, arguing that some affiliated unions had been asked to vote just once, while others had been encouraged to cast one vote for every affiliated branch.

The Star understands that Labour head office took legal advice, and then ordered a re-run of the trigger ballot. A source told the Star that Mr Wales, predicting defeat, had encouraged his supporters to vote for an open selection.

Now the result is in favour, Mr Wales is expected to run for the candidacy against local councillor Rokhsana Fiaz.

Ms Fiaz said: “Labour members have unanimously voted for choice.

“So in the coming weeks I will be setting out my vision for Newham on housing, jobs, education and health.”

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