The Labour Party has been accused of adopting Stalinist selection policies by the one grass-roots member who refused to endorse a council by-election candidate.
Barbara Holland, who has been in the party for more than 20 years, is outraged that members were presented with one candidate at the Lozells and East Handsworth selection meeting and has accused the party of failing democracy.
The selection row has already led to official complaints against former Lord Mayor, Coun Mahmood Hussain, over allegations that he told another applicant, Elaina Cohen, that he could not support her, because she was ‘white and Jewish’, an allegation he denies.
He was also a leading member of a secretive nine-strong panel which withdrew two able applicants, including Ms Cohen, from the shortlist put to members.
The panel’s favoured candidate, Hendrina Quinnen, won the backing of all but one person in the 50-strong members meeting – with Mrs Holland being the one objector.
She said: “I expected there to be a contest, with two or three candidates asking for our votes. Instead we got one and were told this had been decided beforehand.
“There was no explanation, no clarity, which is why I voted against.
“The party says that it is within the rules, but it is against the spirit of democracy. It is the kind of thing that would happen in the old Soviet Union.”
Her protest comes after Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood, who is Ms Cohen’s boss, said it was wrong not to put all three applicants forward. He demanded a rethink of party regulations.
The Labour Party’s regional spokesman, Ian Reilly, said that the selection was carried out in accordance with party rules.
Both Birmingham City Council’s Standards Committee and the Labour Party are to investigate the allegations against Coun Hussain over the alleged remarks about Ms Cohen.
The by-election will take place on June 4 and follows the resignation of Labour councillor Kim Brom.