Burnham calls meeting over entryism concerns
Labour’s four leadership contestants are to meet today amid concerns that a new voting process has allowed the party’s opponents to skew the results of the Labour leadership election.
Several senior Labour figures have hit out at what they describe as the “infiltration” of the party by opponents who have paid money to the party so they can vote in the election.
According to figures published by Private Eye, 200,000 Labour members left the party while Tony Blair was Prime Minister, but since May, more than 411,000 members and supporters have signed up to Labour. Many have signed up specifically to support frontrunner for the win, Jeremy Corbyn.
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Though the results will not be known until September 12, former home secretary Charles Clarke described the election as a “disaster” on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last night.
Harriet Harman will host today’s meeting, which was requested by Andy Burnham.
Burnham said he needed to be “more assured” that the party was effectively dealing with votes from political opponents and that they would not be counted.
Speaking about the electoral process he said: “I have confidence in it as long as we get clarification about how the very small number of applications that have been made on a fraudulent basis [are] being dealt with properly.”
However, at a Radio 5 Live hustings this morning, Burnham ruled out a legal challenge to the final results, “under all circumstances”.
Corbyn has described claims about entryism as “nonsense”, and said that it was good that people are coming to Labour.
According to the Guardian he said: “Are there any Tory infiltrators? I think there has been a lot of nonsense in the papers. 600,000 people have either joined the Labour Party or signed up as supporters, we should be pleased about that. There are a few Tory MPs I understand tried to register, got rejected. End of story.”