A bid by five Labour Party members to stop a former Lord Mayor of Birmingham standing for election amid question marks over his selection was withdrawn three days into a County Court hearing.
The members of the Lozells and East Handsworth branch party backed down after applying for an injunction against Mahmood Hussain standing as Labour Party candidate in May 3 local election.
The collapse of their legal action means that Mr Hussain, who was deselected from the safe Labour seat by the party last year, is likely to make a return to the city council.
It was the latest salvo in a bitter feud between former allies Mr Hussain and Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood which has divided the branch Labour Party and led to it being put in special measure by the national Party.
But a bid by the Labour Party to order their £9,600 costs against the MP was dismissed, and instead the five claimants, named as Qatib and others, have been ordered to pay.
Matthew Haynes, representing the claimants, said that after pushing for an injunction to be served before the closure of nominations for the election next week, they had ‘on reflection’ decided to withdraw the claim.
“They reflected that it does not assist anyone in the Labour Party to have infighting in public. Rather than continue existing divisions and dissent, they have taken the pragmatic decision not to proceed any further and to accept what had happened.”
The party took a different view.
Regional director Ian Reilly said: “This should never have been brought to court. When challenged we produced comprehensive evidence that our selection process was properly run and once they saw the evidence they withdrew their action.”
The allegations surrounded the selection of Mahmood Hussain over his rival Khurram Ali at a meeting of the party on January 14 and question marks over payments made to restore lapsed party memberships.
Judge Simon Barker QC suggested that there had been a case to answer over at least three members.
He said: “The general public have a right to expect the people do not buy their way into public office. If even one vote had been bought it would call into question that person’s suitability for public office. I am sure that is a policy the Labour Party would want to uphold vigorously.”
However he admonished the claimants for failing to use internal Party processes to the full before resorting to the courts.
Representing the Labour party, David Lock QC, argued that the regional officials who had overseen the selection were working in very difficult conditions to ensure it was a fair process and had investigated the allegations.