Log In

Reset Password

Burt says selection process has changed

Paula Cox

Opposition leader David Burt declined yesterday to delve into internal party processes after reports of a conflict involving former leader Paula Cox.

However, after a series of questions about the candidate selection process, he said that the process within the party had changed since the last General Election, with the party approving changes in 2014.

“The processes that we are using for candidate selection were modified,” he said. “They were ratified by the central committee at the delegates’ conference.”

No further details about the changes were provided.

Reports emerged this week that a dispute had arisen because of the selection of Wayne Caines for Constituency 14 over Ms Cox.

The former premier, who lost to Glen Smith in the 2012 General Election, said in an e-mail seen by this newspaper that party leaders had acted as if they had a “backroom agenda” to tarnish her reputation. In the e-mail, Ms Cox said that the branch had selected her as the candidate and that the party’s constitution needed to be adhered to.

At the time of the 2012 election, all PLP candidates — including sitting MPs — were selected by a branch vote. Those rules were put in place in 2010 with the intention of encouraging new talent into the political arena and ensuring that underperforming MPs cannot cling to safe seats.

The measures were also aimed at preventing party leaders from “parachuting” their favourites into safe seats in the wake of accusations of interference in the lead-up to the previous election.

Addressing the issue at a press conference held to unveil new candidates, Mr Burt said: “At any point in time when you are in leadership, at any point in time in an organisation, you are probably not going to get buy-in from 100 per cent for every decision, but the view of the party is we are moving forward.

“We are going to make sure that we work together to deliver for the people.

“What I believe is that every single person in the PLP wants to make sure that the OBA’s term of government ends on July 18.”

He also stated that he doubted that there would be “two PLP candidates” running in the constituency.