1. ITV Report

Labour 'fix row' candidate quits Falkirk selection race

Labour candidate Karie Murphy has withdrawn from the Falkirk selection race. Photo: David Cheskin/PA Archive

The prospective Labour parliamentary candidate at the centre of allegations of selection-fixing by the Unite union in the Falkirk constituency party has quit the race.

Karie Murphy said she withdrew for the sake of "reconciliation and unity".

Labour said Ms Murphy and Falkirk constituency party chairman Stevie Deans had been reinstated by the party as an investigation found neither they nor any organisation or individual had breached party rules.

A Labour spokesman said "key evidence" had been withdrawn from the inquiry, leading to the finding that no rules in place at the time were breached.

The evidence is believed to relate to claims people were signed up as party members without their knowledge in a bid to laden the local party with Unite supporters.

Tom Watson, who was involved in the selection of Labour's election candidates, resigned his shadow cabinet position over the Falkirk row in July.

Today Mr Watson wrote on Twitter:

At the time, the shadow defence secretary said Unite had "well and truly overstepped the mark" in the constituency where there had "clearly been some external interference".

After the selection-fixing allegations were made against the union, Labour leader Ed Miliband hit out at Unite and its general secretary Len McCluskey.

Labour leader Ed Miliband pictured in July. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive

He should not be defending the machine politics involving bad practice and malpractice that went on there, he should be facing up to it.

We had members being signed up without their knowledge, bad practice, malpractice and, frankly, instead of defending that kind of thing, Len McCluskey should be condemning it.

Today's developments appear to draw a line under the Falkirk affair, but Mr Miliband remains embroiled in difficult relations with the trade union movement - who he will address at the TUC annual conference on Tuesday.

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has called on Mr Miliband to "come clean and publish Labour’s report into the Falkirk selection in full."