Both Alan Ritchie and Mick Dooley have been banned from standing for general secretary

Troubled union Ucatt is running the risk of invalidating another leadership election after barring candidates Mick Dooley and Alan Ritchie from standing, unions watchdog the Certification Office has claimed.

Ucatt last week banned both from standing for general secretary, just two weeks before leadership ballots are sent out next Friday (11 November).

A spokesperson for the Certification Office (CO) said that the election could be invalidated if it is called in to investigate and finds the decisions to bar Dooley and Ritchie broke the union’s rules.

The CO declared Ucatt’s previous leadership election void after finding ballot papers were sent to less than half of the union’s claimed 130,000 members, forcing general secretary Ritchie to resign in April. In September Ritchie was suspended from Ucatt amid an ongoing investigation into expenses.

In a letter sent to Dooley informing him of the ban dated 28 October and seen by Building, interim general secretary George Guy said Ucatt’s selection committee had decided Dooley was “not a fit and proper candidate for the job of general secretary”.

The letter cited the fact that Dooley was dismissed as regional secretary in January, adding that the union had “also taken account of matters raised at the interview [with him] on 26 October”.

Dooley is challenging his dismissal as regional secretary - his case was heard at an employment tribunal in September and is awaiting judgment.

As Building went to press, he said he was trying to finance a High Court injunction to prevent the ballot going ahead without his name on it.

Ucatt declined to comment.