POLITICS

Green Party Supporters, Not Tories, Leading Labour Leadership Race Infiltration

25/08/2015 14:01 BST | Updated 25/08/2015 16:59 BST
Nick Ansell/PA Wire
File photo dated 15/12/14 of Green Party leader Natalie Bennett. The Green Party are calling for a "peaceful political revolution" to end austerity and tackle climate change, as they launch their manifesto for the May 7 General Election.

Almost five times as many Green Party supporters have been banned from voting in the Labour leadership election as Tory backers, it has been revealed.

Of the 3,138 people ruled ineligible to vote in the leadership election, 1,900 were found to be members or supporters of the Greens, while just 400 of those banned were Tories.

Some 366,954 people have joined the Labour Party since the election and are eligible to vote in the leadership contest, giving an overall electorate of 553,954.

The figures, released today, come after an emergency meeting between the four leadership contenders to discuss fears of ‘entryism’ in the race.

Yet while Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has raised fears of “several thousand Tory infiltrators”, it seems vast majority of infiltrators are coming from the left-wing Green Party.

Speaking today after the meeting, acting Labour leader Harriet Harman said: “I am confident that there won’t be questions over the integrity of the result and there aren’t any bases for legal challenges.”

She added: “The question is not which candidate you support. The question is do you support the aims and values of the Labour Party.”

Former leader Ed Miliband changed the leadership election rules last year to take away the influence of the unions on how the leader was chosen.

The system moved from an electoral college system to one-member-one-vote.

As part of the change, people could join Labour as a “supporter” instead of a full member for just £3 and still get a vote.

More than 130 Labour staff have been working to verify the more than 355,000 new sign-ups in a bid to tackle entryism from other parties.

This includes checking social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook to see if an applicant has made statements which are against the aims of the Labour Party.

Around 15 per cent of those who applied were rejected because they were not on the electoral register.

A Green Party spokesperson said it was important that those who don’t support Labour shouldn’t be attempting to interfere with the election.

The spokesperson added: “If some individuals have decided to change parties, that is a matter for them, but it is no surprise that there is significant interest in the future of a party of the Left, particularly following the Green surge and growth in activism against austerity.

“The Green Party will continue to fight against the government’s dismal failure to tackle climate change, and its attacks on the young and the most disadvantaged in our society.

"It’s vital that whoever wins the Labour leadership election works across party lines to hold this Government to account and to bring in a fairer voting system which reflects Britain’s multiparty politics.”

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