Labour struck 3,000 voters off its leadership electoral roll on Tuesday following claims of infiltration and sabotage intended to boost hard left candidate Jeremy Corbyn to the head of the party.
Some 1,900 members of the Green party, which sits to the left of Labour, were said to have been barred from voting in the contest, compared to 400 Tories, despite a widely publicised #ToriesForCorbyn campaign leading to fears Conservatives were seeking to damage the party’s electoral chances.
Harriet Harman, acting leader of Labour, told the BBC it was not “funny or clever for people from other parties to try to cheat” their way onto the roll, even though BuzzFeed managed to sign up this cat to vote in the Labour leadership election, which was rather amusing.
Members and campaigners of other party, those not registered to vote (cats excepted) and those who have stood for election under another party’s ticket are all likely to be barred from voting under membership rules.
Earlier in the day Corbyn, who at this stage appears likely to win the leadership election, praised the influx of new supporters at a Stevenage hustings, though pollsters believe that a disproportionate numbers of newcomers will vote for him.
Speaking at the same event his rival Andy Burnham said: “I wouldn’t want to overstate this whole issue, but there is some evidence that Tories are signed up to vote.”
Under Labour rules revised during previous leader Ed Miliband’s tenure, those who support the party’s values were allowed to sign up to vote for £3 even if they do not belong to an affiliated trade union.
Around 550,000 people are expected to vote in the election, according to Labour estimates, with the result due to be announced on September 12th.
Previously the count was as high as 610,000, but the numbers were said to have dropped due to duplicate applications and entries from those not on the electoral roll used in parliamentary general elections.
Image Credit – Harriet Harman in November 2014, by University of Salford