Of the 11 regional lists presented on 2 August, 10 were topped by a party candidate with links to Unite, the largest trade union in Britain and Ireland with 1.42 million members working across all economic sectors. In total, 46 candidates - two-thirds - have union links and 25 have direct ties to Unite.
The list was published after George Mudie, a veteran Labour MP, said Labour leader Ed Miliband faced a problem because the trade unions had a “major say” in Miliband's selection as Labour’s leader.
The announcement fuelled controversy in the Labour party that unions forced out strong local candidates.
Under Labour rules, the candidates are first selected by a regional panel on which the unions and local party bosses have an equal number of seats. Only then do party members get a chance to vote on their top candidates.
In London, where MEP Claude Moraes is ranked number one , Anne Fairweather, who topped the poll among London members in 2009, was not allowed to stand. Her treatment prompted Peter Watt, Labour’s former general secretary, to complain.
"The feeling is that as she has a pro-business background, she was blocked by the trade unions. It really is a stitch-up,” he said.
Lord Peter Mandelson also warned that trade unions wield an "absolutely disgraceful" influence over the selection of candidates.
Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman counter-attacked, saying in a statement that the top priority of Labour MEPs "will be to be a strong voice in the European Parliament to make sure they get the best deal to bring jobs and growth here in the UK."
“Unlike David Cameron, whose first priority on Europe is appeasing the ever-more extreme demands of Tory backbenchers, Labour MEPs will be a powerful One Nation voice who stand up for ordinary hardworking families,” Harman said.
The criticism wenter further. Mudie also said that Labour MPs have little idea about the party’s policy on key issues such as welfare, education and health, so the public would know even less about where it stood.
He described Labour as “slightly hesitant” and “slightly confused”.
“There has to be and there is some concern that the lead we have in the polls, first of all is not firm enough. Big enough –but will it withstand a general election discussion?” he added.
UK commentators say that Miliband needs a rethink, and fast. While some feel he dealt relatively well with the recent row about trade union influence over Labour candidate selection, on the big subjects on which the next election is likely to be fought his party seems to have perilously little to say that might cut through in the country.
If the economic recovery does pick up, and employment continues to grow, Labour will have lost its central line of attack against David Cameron.