Labour leadership: Urgent meeting called over fears of Tory ‘infiltration’

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls and Andy Burnham MP on visit to MK Hospital earlier this year
Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls and Andy Burnham MP on visit to MK Hospital earlier this year

An urgent meeting has been called over “potential large-scale infiltration” by Conservatives in the Labour leadership race.

It has been claimed that Tory voters from across the country have been joining the Labour Party for as little as £3 so that they can have a vote on who becomes Labour leader.

There could be “several thousand Tory infiltrators” out of the 121,000 supporters registered to vote, it has emerged today.

In a letter to the Labour general secretary, candidate Andy Burnham’s campaign manager said: “While we accept the party has processes in place, there is potentially more that can be done by the party nationally and regionally as well as by local CLPs to exclude such infiltrators.”

One Conservative who has voted in the Labour leadership race is former MK councillor Paul Bartlett. However he has spoken openly about voting in the ballot in favour of frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn.

City Alderman Mr Bartlett is a rep for USDAW and was offered the chance to vote through the trade union.

He said he was given an opportunity to use his democratic right “so took it” - despite hoping to run to be a Conservative councillor in Milton Keynes next year.

A Labour spokesman said: “The Labour Party has a robust system to prevent fraudulent or malicious applications.

“All applications to join the Labour Party as a member, affiliate or supporter are verified and those who are identified by our verification team as being candidates, members or supporters of another political party will be denied a vote.”