Labour leadership contest: Party aides fear 'purge' if Jeremy Corbyn is elected

Exclusive: Many staff are on contracts that expire the day after leader is elected

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Indy Politics

Dozens of Labour staff members and Shadow Cabinet aides could be dismissed within hours of Jeremy Corbyn winning the party’s leadership, it has emerged.

The Independent understands that large numbers of Labour staff members are on contracts that expire the day after the new leader is elected. This means Mr Corbyn and his new shadow cabinet team will have a completely free hand at choosing who works for the party, with little or no legal obligation to existing staff.

Labour aides, who have worked for the party for the past five years, fear those around the new leader will use the opportunity to “purge” party HQ of those considered to be on the right, and replace them with people whose views are more in tune with the new leader. Other staff members intend to leave of their own volition and are understood to be already sending out their CVs in anticipation of a Corbyn victory.

One aide working for a Shadow Cabinet minister said: “I’m very, very vulnerable and I suspect that people like me will be quickly expunged.

 

“It is not a case of having a contract that gives you certain rights. It ends with the leadership election and that’s it. Then, unless we get re-employed, we’re out and there is nothing we can do about it.”

Another said: “It is certainly true that there is nothing to stop him getting rid of us. But it is also true that not many will want to stick around.”

Mr Corbyn has publicly insisted that if he wins next month he wants to unite the party and lead a broad church shadow cabinet, including people who fundamentally disagree with him.

But others in his campaign have been less forgiving. Dave Ward, the general secretary of the Communication Workers’ Union, which has 200,000 members, said his union was backing Mr Corbyn to rid the party of Blairites.

“There is a virus within the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn is the antidote,” he said.

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