Police were asked to stand guard at a Labour Party selection meeting in Middlesbrough, amidst concerns it may descend into violence. The two officers attended the meeting of the Beechwood ward to ensure any trouble-makers were deterred from making a scene, according to Gazette Live.
In the end the meeting passed without incident prompting questions about whether the party had wasted police time. However things have been heating up in Middlesbrough Labour Party ever since five councillors in the town were de-selected.
Len Junier who is one of the de-selected Councillors, resigned from the party in protest last month. Although he did not attend the meeting he said: “It has been assumed that there was going to be a problem at the selection process last night. It seems a waste of valuable resources.
“I think it is a disgrace that the Labour group in Middlesbrough can do this. From what I heard there were no issues at the meeting – it was over and done with in less than 30 minutes. It was not a controversial meeting.”
A Middlesbrough Labour Party spokesman confirmed the police had been asked in advance to attend last night’s meeting. He said: “The police were there for reassurance because at an earlier meeting (the AGM) there had been damage to the property and intimidation to party members by people not eligible to be at the meeting,” he said.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman had earlier confirmed: “Two police officers attended the meeting yesterday evening.
“They were there to deter any possible disruption to proceedings and did not participate in any political activity or debate. The meeting passed off smoothly and without incident.”
The incident follows an outbreak of disorder at last month’s Council meeting. Police were called after Councillors took issue with two members of the public filming the meeting.
The de-selected Councillors plan to run as independents.