The U.K. opposition Labour lawmaker in charge of the party’s election campaign quit his post following a dispute about the selection of a candidate and allegations a trade union was trying to exert too much control.
Tom Watson, who will remain a member of Parliament, said in his resignation letter that his departure wasn’t the result of a falling-out with Labour leader Ed Miliband.
“I’m proud of your Buddha-like qualities of patience, deep thought, compassion and resolve,” he wrote to Miliband in a letter published on his Web site. “I remain your loyal servant. I’ll always be on hand to help you if you need me. I just don’t think you need me in the Shadow Cabinet any more.”
Labour said this month it planned to draw up a new shortlist of candidates to stand on behalf of the party in the district of Falkirk, Scotland, at the 2015 election. It has excluded people who joined the local party in the past year from having a say in the decision after an investigation into reports that Unite, a labor union, paid for about 100 people to join.
Prime Minister David Cameron made much of the Falkirk row during his weekly exchanges with Miliband in Parliament yesterday, repeatedly saying in answers to questions on different subjects that the Labour leader wasn’t standing up to Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey. Unite meanwhile has attacked Miliband for giving way to an “anti-union agenda” by intervening in Falkirk.