Labour is seeking legal advice to ensure its leadership election is being conducted according to party rules, amid fears that the contest is being infiltrated by people who oppose the party. A spokesperson for acting leader Harriet Harman confirmed that the party had called in lawyers to ensure that the process would not be open to challenge, but denied that there were any plans to halt or suspend the process. Under new rules anyone can vote if they pay £3 to register as a supporter, which prompted concerns that the system was being gamed by people who support other parties. About 400,000 people have become eligible to vote in the contest since the general election, swelling the electorate to 600,000 A spokeswoman for Harman denied that legal advice had been sought as a result of the worries over “entryism” from the left and right. “The party’s focus is on making sure that the rules are fully complied with, as we said last week we have taken legal advice to make sure that the rules are being complied with and that all due diligence as possible was being done,” she said.
A Labour spokesperson repeated that the party had “a robust system” to prevent fraudulent or malicious applications and duplicate votes. “All applications to join the Labour party as a member, affiliate or supporter are verified and those who do not share Labour’s aims and values will be denied a vote,” he said.
Earlier this month Tory minister Tim Loughton was caught in the party’s vetting process attempting to register to vote for Labour’s new leader, and a number of Twitter users who took part in an online campaign to persuade Conservative party supporters to sign up and vote for Jeremy Corbyn in an attempt to damage Labour’s electoral chances posted pictures of ballot papers they claim to have been sent.