Call to stop Labour leader race over ‘entryism’

LEGAL action could be taken against Labour unless it ­suspends its leadership contest due to fears of “entryism”, one of its MPs has warned as the deadline for registering to vote in the ­contest to succeed Ed Miliband passed.

Jeremy Corbyn is favourite to win the race. Picture: Getty
Jeremy Corbyn is favourite to win the race. Picture: Getty

In a sign of growing ­tensions within the party, Graham Stringer joined three other MPs in calling for the race to be halted while the party attempts to weed out bogus anti-Labour ­voters who have signed up as registered supporters for £3.

Polls suggesting Mr Corbyn is poised for a shock victory has led to calls for the contest to be re-run over allegations that it has been ­exploited by hard-left groups and political opponents, including Conservative activists.

Mr Stringer said legal ­action could be taken against the party unless it pauses the process, joining fellow MPs Barry Sheerman, John Mann and Simon Danczuk in the call.

He said: “I think if the election isn’t paused that would be a shame and I think that people will probably take legal action because the rules are not being implemented properly.

“People who basically have lied when they say they are ­Labour Party supporters are going to vote in the election, there’s lots of credible evidence out there.

“I think the Labour Party will end up in the chaos of legal process, so I don’t think it will go ahead on that basis and it’s whether the national executive committee take that decision or whether it is stopped by legal ­action.”

However, Mr Corbyn, who has ­emerged as the bookies’ ­favourite with a vast opinion poll lead over rivals Andy ­Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, defended the “robust” system.

The Islington North MP said: “The response to the Labour leadership race from party members and supporters, ­longstanding and new, is proof of the optimism in the possibility of a popular, modern alternative to the Conservative government.

“All of our focus must be on channelling this extraordinary movement towards a united party that is able to find its ­confidence and defeat the ­Conservatives in 2020.”

Yesterday Mr Corbyn said the ­public response to the contest was proof of optimism that a “popular, modern” Labour Party could defeat the Conservatives at the 2020 election.

Today Mr Corbyn will bring his campaign to Scotland with speeches at public rallies in ­Aberdeen and Dundee where he will make calls to “rebalance our economy”.

Mr Corbyn, who is due to visit Edinburgh and Glasgow ­tomorrow, will call for an end to cuts and demand more investment in affordable housing at the ­rallies in Scotland. Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Corbyn said an anti-austerity platform for Scottish Labour would help the party to recover lost support north and south of the Border.

He added: “This campaign is about spreading a message of hope and change. This is as ­applicable a message in Scotland as anywhere else.

“Here, as elsewhere, we need to rebalance our economy and use public ­investment to ­create the jobs and infrastructure that we will need for the 21st ­century.

“It is by showing that we have a vision to deliver an economy that will provide the sort of jobs and houses and security that ­people need, that we will come back across Scotland and ­elsewhere.”