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December 22, 2014

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Paul Flynn

Thanks James. I remember the incident as an avid reader of Rebecca. I knew Paddy French well at the time and I get occasional e-mail from his retirement hacienda in Southern France. I did not know the details of the threat to sue you. Must have been a nightmare.
His knighthood was given at a time when most Labour MPs were refusing honours. I believe it was for services to the Accommodation Committee.
Last year, a chair of the PLP confirmed his belief that the Executive Committee votes were rigged in the eighties. Hard to believe with such a sophisticated electorate but the only plausible explanation for the results then.

James Stewart

Those with a long memory might not be surprised at the ballot-rigging story. As a young reporter on the South Wales Echo in 1978, I reported on the rigging of a ballot at the Ogmore Constituency Labour Party Social Club at Bryntirion in Bridgend. The club was the power base for Ray Powell who aspired to be the next MP for Ogmore. The ballot was rigged to keep off the committee a critic of Powell and his cronies who was asking awkward questions about the use of money from the club's one-armed bandits. The full details were later reported in an investigation by Rebecca Magazine. Powell sued me and the Echo for libel, but dropped the case when the ballot papers came to light and proved the allegations to be true. He went on to be knighted for his services to the party.

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