A thousand far left infiltrators have been barred from taking part in the Labour leadership election, throwing Labour headquarters into chaos. The infiltrators are mainly members of alternative left wing parties or trade unionists.
The party had already tasked 48 employees at its membership office in Newcastle with cross referencing the applications, after a number of non-Labour supporting groups urged their followers to pay £3 to become a registered supporter, which entitles the holder to a vote in the upcoming leadership election, the Times has reported.
Now the party has also put staff members at the Party’s Brewers Green headquarters in London on the case too, assigned with rooting out members of Left Unity, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), and the Green Party. So far, nearly 1,000 false applications have been uncovered among the 65,000 new recruits who have signed up since May.
29 senior figures from Left Unity and TUSC have already joined Labour, it is assumed in order to support socialist candidate Jeremy Corbyn. Labour have accused the new recruits of being entryists and skewing the vote, but they have defended their membership, saying that they have just as much right to vote as anyone.
Left Unity, founded by the film director Ken Loach, has accused Labour of conducting a witch-hunt against its members.
“Left Unity is a party with many disaffected former Labour members,” Salman Shaheen, the party’s principal speaker, told the BBC. “It’s no wonder that some people genuinely wanted to have a say in the Labour leadership contest.”
Researcher Carl Packman tweeted: “Exodus” of Corbyn-voting Greens isn’t so much entryism as return to social-democrat tent by those who felt unrepresented by new labour.”
However Tusc has held back from encouraging its members to vote, concerned that involvement in the contest could pave the way for a legal challenge over the validity of the vote if Corbyn is named as leader.
In July the conservative journalist Toby Young revealed how easy it was for non-Labour supporters to sign up as supporter, effectively buying a vote for £3. Labour’s website asks people to confirm that they “support the aims and values of the Labour Party, and I am not a supporter of any organisation opposed to it,” by clicking a button, as well as giving their reasons for joining the party.
The founder of “Tories for Corbyn”, Young revealed that he wrote on his form: “To consign Labour to electoral oblivion.” It is not clear whether Labour have therefore withdrawn his ballot.