Corbyn critical of party over leadership votes

Jeremy Corbyn enjoyed a joke with young activists as he campaigned today
Jeremy Corbyn enjoyed a joke with young activists as he campaigned today
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JEREMY CORBYN claimed some Labour members had been “unfairly” denied the chance to vote in the party’s leadership election today.

Mr Corbyn confirmed his campaign has written to the party’s general secretary Iain McNicol in the wake of the suspension of bakers’ union chief Ronnie Draper.

It follows claims from Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell that thousands of members and registered supporters had been reportedly denied a vote without a proper explanation.

Mr McDonnell, who is chairing Mr Corbyn’s bid to be re-elected as Labour leader, warned party officials against ‘’what appears to be a rigged purge of Jeremy Corbyn supporters’’.

Asked during a visit to Edinburgh whether he thought the leadership election was subject to a “rigged purge”, Mr Corbyn said: “I’m very concerned that some people seem to have been unfairly removed from the ability to vote in this election.

“A number of people have contacted me as a result of that and we have sent the names in that we’re concerned about to the general secretary, and asked him to make sure that the party checks into this carefully to make sure that everyone who is eligible to vote is able to vote in this election. We want a fair and open election.”

Mr Draper, a prominent supporter of Mr Corbyn and a Labour member for 40 years, said he was ‘’disgusted and in shock’’ after receiving a letter saying he was suspended pending a hearing, a move which will prevent him voting in the leadership election.

The BFAWU union, which has almost 20,000 members in the food industry, is backing Mr Corbyn in the leadership contest against Owen Smith.

A number of other Labour Party members said they have also been suspended, with one saying four people with a combined membership of 163 years have received letters.

Meanwhile, Shadow Health Secretary Diane Abbott has insisted the Labour Party’s annual conference will go ahead next month despite its difficulty in finfinding a company to provide security.