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

Jeremy Corbyn has said he wants to unite the party and lead a ‘broad church’ shadow cabinet
Jeremy Corbyn has said he wants to unite the party and lead a ‘broad church’ shadow cabinet

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.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in