Harriet Harman has said 3,000 alleged “cheats” have so far been excluded from voting in the Labour leadership contest, with more expected. The acting Labour leader said: “It is not funny or clever for people from other parties to try to cheat their way into our system.” And only people who supported the “aims and values” of the Labour Party would be allowed to take part. She was speaking after a meeting with the four leadership contenders. She said the verification process was “robust” and would go on until the “very last minute”.
United Kingdom: Jeremy Corbyn’s rivals to demand Labour reversal on stronger checks against infiltration | Telegraph
Jeremy Corbyn’s rivals will today demand that Labour reverses a decision not to weed out “infiltrators” with extra checks amid fears they could skew the result of the leadership contest. In a showdown meeting in Stevenage, Harriet Harman, the acting Labour leader, will be told to use election canvass returns to double-check the allegiance of new joiners. Failure to do so could trigger a slew of legal challenges from donors who funded campaigns in good faith or councillors who have been infuriated Tory infiltration, they will warn.
It is reasonable for the Labour party to exclude people who oppose its values and aims from the contest to elect a new leader. Conservatives infiltrating the process are committing not mischief but fraud and should be duly ashamed. Hovever, the numbers involved in that kind of chicanery are in all likelihood very small and the controversy around Labour’s vetting process for newly registered “supporters” involves a different phenomenon. Several would-be electors have been excluded on the basis of evidence – some compelling, some flimsy – that they have supported rivals on the left: Greens and fringe socialist groups. Labour is entitled to question these people’s loyalty. Endorsing a different party hardly implies stalwart support. Yet many of those who are being weeded out – or “purged” as they see it – in “Operation Icepick” see themselves as refugees of the anti-Blair left, alienated by the party under recent leaders, seeking a right of return as acolytes of Jeremy Corbyn. This is more a conceptual challenge to Labour than a technical one. The passionate Corbynites who may not have supported Labour in recent years claim nonetheless to be the authentic supporters of the party’s “aims and values” – more so even than the apparatchiks who would seek to exclude them. They challenge the authority of the machine to decide who is entitled to vote in the contest and, in so doing, say they are honouring the spirit of the new rules that offered them a vote at the bargain price of three pounds.