FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23: The PLP changed its selection process at the start of last year to make elections more open to the wider party.

A party spokesman said: “Constitutional changes came into effect following recommendations of the PLP Constitutional Committee.

“The changes enable the wider membership to have a more active say in the candidate selection.

“The process is more transparent and open and therefore the candidates and wider Party membership are able to participate in the democratic process.”

Challenged

But he added that members still do not have the final say over who goes forward as a candidate in an election.

The spokesman said: “Once branches select their candidates, the choices must be ratified by Central Committee.”

Previously, candidate selection in the PLP was carried out more centrally and with no set rules governing how the party selected its prospective MPs — although there was an “unwritten rule” that sitting MPs would not be challenged.

One of the aims of the change was to make sure sitting MPs did not become complacent and allow the opportunity for new talent to enter the political arena.

The changes were backed by former PLP chairman David Burt, now a Senator, who said last year: “The branches should have the final decision on who stands for the PLP in their constituency.”