Voters won't trust Labour to run the country after 'chaotic' leadership contest, admits MP

Ian Austin says the vote isn't a good advertisement for Labour

Jon Stone
Wednesday 26 August 2015 17:38
The Labour leadership contenders
The Labour leadership contenders

Voters will not trust Labour to run the country if it cannot run its “chaotic” leadership contest properly, one of the party’s MPs has said.

Ian Austin told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was not confident about the way the election has been conducted.

“I don't think it is a very good advertisement for the Labour party,” he said. “I think there are all sorts of questions that have got to be answered.”

Asked how people could expect Labour to run the country when it could not properly administer a leadership election, he said: “I think that’s a fair criticism”. “I think [chaotic] would probably be too kind a description.”

Labour officials are working to "purge" the party electorate of people who they believe do not agree with its aims and values.

The opposition party says the 3,138 people have been excluded for breaking its rules, including 400 people who are other Conservative supporters.

But the bulk of those banned from the ballot are supporters of left-wing groups like the Green Party, of which 1,900 have been excluded.

The expulsions are controversial because voters were asked whether they agreed with the aims and values of the Labour party and to confirm that they were not opposed to it.

Many of those who have previously supported other parties say they do support the values of Labour, especially those of the frontrunner candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

Some people, particularly Conservatives, have admitted joining the party in bad faith to skew the results to candidates they perceive to be weaker, however.

Last night it emerged that Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS trade union, had been excluded from the contest.

Ruth Serwotka, Mr Serwoka’s partner, tweeted that the decision was “a total joke” and posted photos of him campaigning with leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn.

The trade unionist had signed up for the contest through his membership of the GMB union, of which he is also a member.

Voting in the contest is underway, with the winner announced at a special party conference in September.

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