The Labour party has signed up more than 180,000 new registered supporters in 48 hours to vote in the party leadership election despite the new £25 fee imposed by the party’s national executive. The huge number of registered supporters comes despite the NEC ruling the fee should be more than eight times higher than 2015, when it cost just £3. Around 105,000 registered supporters voted in 2015, though thousands more were excluded by the party’s vetting procedures. This time 183,541 supporters signed up in a two-day window, which last year was several weeks. This means the party will have raised £4,588,525 in two days. Labour party headquarters had hoped to avoid the administration burden of vetting hundreds of thousands of new members and supporters, but will have a month to do so before ballot papers are sent out in late August. Last year, the party had just two days after the deadline closed to check supporters were not members of other parties.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Labour party shut down a crowd-funding campaign that raised £14,000 for people who could not afford the party’s £25 registered supporter fee.
Lauren Ashby, a Jeremy Corbyn supporter who set up the crowd fund, said she had been given a formal warning for violating Labour party rules and told she faced expulsion unless the money was repaid.
The crowd-funding site, which was set up last week, called the £25 fee “a discriminatory price that will clearly exclude a great many from being able to take part in this vote”. Ashby denied the scheme was buying votes for Corbyn and said the fund was for people who had already signed up as members but were hit by the six-month freeze on voting rights.