I AM chair of Glasgow Govan Constituency Labour Party. It is with genuine regret that I feel I must comment on our selection process.

Jimmy Reid's articles and the plethora of letters they have generated have said a great deal about the selection. Jimmy Reid applauds himself for creating a debate on it.

It is regrettable that this debate is being increasingly aired in the columns of your newspaper where points cannot easily be challenged or refuted or explored by those who do not have the luxury Jimmy Reid has, of apparently unlimited access to your paper.

It would have served democracy and the issues Jimmy Reid promotes better if, before the ballot, he had used the opportunities of party meetings to engage in debate - genuine, many-sided debate - with those of us who were wrestling with the significant political issues which underpinned the contest.

He would have served his journalism better after the result if he had sought a broader range of views than he has done so far.

For someone who claims to know such detail about the contest, it is remarkable that he never thought to contact myself who, in my capacity as CLP Chair, attended the count and act as the CLP's press spokesperson. He does not even acknowledge the political debate about the decision of Margaret Curran - the candidate I supported - to stand.

The extent to which he has engaged in that debate is pitifully revealed in his comment, ``An MP is a law maker. His selection must be wihin the law. His selection must be within procedures . . . ''

It is argued that the very process of ruling out members from the postal ballot was unfair. This is not a view that was expressed at the count. None of the scrutineers objected to the process. Indeed they all checked signatures and in turn rejected those that they believed to be invalid.

By doing this they accepted that discrepancies in signatures were a sufficient reason to invalidate a particular postal vote.

It was clear to me, and I heard no objection raised, that the postal votes would be checked and then Lesley Quinn, as Returning Officer, would make a ruling.

Either you accept, as the scrutineers did, that this was a necessary safeguard against cheating, or you do not. What you cannot do is accept the process but set a ceiling on the acceptable number of postal votes that can be ruled out. All postal votes had to have the same set of criteria applied.

It is now stated, as if it were incontrovertible truth, that the names that were ruled out were Asian and that they were supporters of Mohammed Sarwar. What is true is that no-one except Lesley Quinn would know how many of them were Asian names. The ballot papers remained sealed, so no-one, including Lesley Quinn, knew how they might have voted.

I am afraid it is a deliberate and dangerous untruth which did much to provoke further the understandable anger and disbelief of Mr Sarwar's supporters who had seen him so narrowly defeated.

It does Mr Sarwar's friends no credit at all to play on that anger and disappointment by claiming to know who was ruled out and therefore implying that race became the criterion used by the party official in making her decision.

Jimmy Reid's suggestion that ``my vote, I think, was counted. For as you may have gathered, I am not Asian'' takes that untruth further still (January 11).

The CLP secretary has been castigated for her role in the process. The CLP must deal with any complaints about the way its members and particularly its officers conduct themselves. There are clear disciplinary procedures for dealing with anyone who has behaved in a way that is contrary to the rules and values of our party.

However, no matter how much any individual might wish it, no-one can individually rule out members, manipulate the rules, and single-handedly determine the selection process of our party.

Given the make-up of the Govan membership, I find it frankly ludicrous that we could all be intimidated, silenced, and conned by the CLP secretary.

At each stage of the process, appeals were built in to ensure that this could not happen. At each stage the NEC, though its representative, Lesley Quinn, was ensuring that the party's rules were enforced.

We have been told that Lesley Quinn made mistakes because she was under pressure, because the hall had to be cleared, because she was intimidated by Watson supporters or because, as Jimmy Reid says, she forgot she was a servant of the party.

This portrayal of Lesley Quinn as either a dupe or a petty dictator is, for me, the most offensive line that has been argued in this campaign. She is hardworking, sharp, able, honest, and no-one's fool.

Her integrity goes unquestioned in the Labour Party and so it must, given that much of her work involves the world of internal party dispute and intrigue. No-one in the Labour Party in Govan - no matter how high the stakes - could have made her squander that integrity in order to operate against the rules of the party and in their favour.

Jimmy Reid demeans himself by attacking a woman who over many years has built an impressive reputation for openness and commitment to servicing the membership, when he knows she is not in a position to defend herself.

I have no doubt that the fact that she is a young woman has made her the target of insults that a male officer like Jimmy Allison - whose ``fixing'' talents Jimmy Reid so recently applauded - would never have to accept.

There are lessons to be learned in the Govan selection. The Herald's recent flawed coverage has not aided that process.

Johann Lamont,

5 Mansionhouse Road, Glasgow.