POLITICS
07/09/2015 11:14 BST | Updated 07/09/2015 16:59 BST

David Blunkett Hasn't Been Sent A Vote In Labour Leader Election - But A Tory Minister May Have

RUI VIEIRA/PA Archive
Taping embargo 1300 Sunday October 15, 2006. Former cabinet minister David Blunkett gives an interview, Saturday 14th October, to mark the publication of his book 'The Blunkett Tapes: My Life In The Bear Pit'.

The Labour Party faced fresh questions over the running of its leadership election after it emerged that former Cabinet Minister David Blunkett has not been sent a vote.

Amid calls for the process to be delayed a few more days to allow every eligible member to get their fair say, The Huffington Post UK has learned that the former Home Secretary and Education Secretary still had not got his ballot as late as this weekend.

A party spokesman revealed that to meet concerns expressed by members about missing ballots, fresh e-votes "in the low thousands" would be sent overnight.

But in a further indication of the chaos afflicting the process, Tory minister Ros Altmann, a former pensions expert and now Government minister in the Lords, HAS been texted messages from one of the leadership campaigns, the HuffPost UK has been told.

Baroness Altmann - who is understood to have signed up as a 'registered supporter' - had a text from the Jeremy Corbyn campaign asking her 'can I count on your vote?'

Activists in one leadership campaign have been calling for a delay to sort the continuing problems, a move that would delay the ballot deadline from noon this Thursday to Saturday, when the result is due to be announced.

Mr Blunkett, who is a backer of Andy Burnham, is just one of a number of party members who are furious that they have been members all their lives and still haven't got a vote.

In contrast, more than 112,000 'registered supporters' who only paid £3 and joined this summer - many of whom are expected to vote for Jeremy Corbyn - have been sent votes.

With more than 550,000 people eligible to vote, including 293,000 fully paid-up party members and 150,000 affiliated supporters including union member, Labour has faced a difficult task in administering the ballot.

It emerged last week that upto 120,000 ballot papers were sent out with just 10 days to go, while social media is full of complaints from members who say they have not got their ballots either online or in the post.

The Yvette Cooper campaign has highlighted similar worries about delayed ballots after individuals contacted it with complaints.

Cooper and Liz Kendall are the other two contenders in the race, which was triggered by Ed Miliband's decision to stand down straight after the May general election defeat.

Today, Ms Kendall and Mr Burnham embarked on phone bank calls to get their vote out and to persuade the undecided voters among members.

According to one estimate, at least a third of the half a million members still have not voted, a fact that Ms Cooper told HuffPost UK last week would help her as they weighed up the 'right candidate' for leader and Prime Minister.

The party has resorted to reissuing ballot papers to some members who have complained bitterly that they have been disenfranchised.

The row is the latest to hit the contest, following complaints that extreme leftwingers, Green Party members and Tories had 'infiltrated' the party, with 4,000 'entryists' having to be weeded out in recent weeks.

Acting leader Harriet Harman told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that: ‘Whoever is elected leader on Saturday, there is no question – they are the leader and they have been validly elected."