Labour accused of deliberately stalling applications from new supporters who would back Jeremy Corbyn

Jessica Gay

New evidence has come to light that suggests the National Executive Committee (NEC) may be stalling registered supporter applications, to prevent Jeremy Corbyn from winning the Labour leadership.

Over recent weeks there has been a huge outcry against the NEC for changing voting rules and preventing certain groups of people from voting in the new leadership election between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith. New Labour party members as well as new union members have been prevented from voting, and supporters have been forced to pay £25 to join as a registered supporter in order to vote. While given only two days to register, the £25 membership fee has also caused an uproar, and has been viewed widely as a move to prevent Corbyn supporters from having their say.

This viewpoint has been enhanced by the news that the Labour party has closed a fund set up to help those who cannot afford to pay the £25 to become a registered supporter. With the JustGiving page raising more than £14,000 in three days, the petition has been closed after the party’s NEC said it was in violation of its rules.

With the news that Corbyn’s poll ratings have soared since Angela Eagle’s withdrawal from the Labour leadership race, are the NEC now panicking and trying to stall supporter applications to prevent Corbyn from winning the race?

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Supporter Naciye Ozbilenler has spoken out on Facebook about her experience of signing up as a registered supporter. Ozbilenler states that she joined as a supporter, stating her reason as Jeremy Corbyn, but did not receive a confirmation.

Many supporters have spoken out about similar experiences, revealing they have had their application stalled or have not received any confirmation if they have detailed their support for Jeremy Corbyn. In comparison those who did not give Corbyn as a reason, have received a confirmation straight away. Similarly, those who gave Corbyn as a reason and did not get a confirmation and who then joined again without a reason, received their confirmation straight away.

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After Ozbilenler previously expressed her intent to sign up, she was called by a volunteer at the Labour party, who was later confirmed to be a volunteer at Momentum. The caller asked Ozbilenler why she hadn’t registered. The volunteer revealed that the NEC were dealing with the applications and suggested that because Ozbilenler expressed her support for Corbyn, the NEC who “are full of Blairites,” wouldn’t have accepted her application.

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After speaking with the Momentum volunteer, Ozbilenler then re-registered, this time without stating support for Corbyn. Her application was confirmed immediately.

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The Canary has received a high number of emails and messages from other Labour members who have reported this same issue.

While this stall could be attributed to the sheer numbers signing up, it was also the case that some of those who did join and didn’t receive a confirmation, also found that the registration fee had been taken from their account. This has caused confusion and frustration for some, who have joined twice and paid double the money necessary.

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Similarly, while the volunteer, who suggested Ozbilenler’s application would be disregarded, was from Momentum and is therefore biased against the ‘blairite’ NEC, it is right to acknowledge a pattern has emerged. Many people are expressing the same issue with their application form, which supports her claims. We have contacted the volunteer and are awaiting further information.

Likewise, the fact that the NEC is asking new members to disclose their reasons for joining has caused suspicion among leading supporters who suggest the NEC are checking their political allegiance. This viewpoint is supported by the news that the NEC is able to block an applicant if they have publicly used the words “traitor”, “scum”, or “scab” to describe “any candidate, any Labour representative, or any other member.” Their ability to do background checks on applicants, including on their public social media posts, is worrying, given their previous bias against Corbyn supporters.

These recent actions, as yet, do not confirm plans to intentionally stall applications supporting Corbyn. However, the delayed confirmations, which has resulted in angry supporters, has aroused suspicion that  the NEC are doing background checks on potential applicants. This along with their previous action to change voting rules implies its own bias against Corbyn and the NEC is not likely to come out favourably after the leadership election.

We have contacted the NEC, but have yet to receive a response on the allegations of stalling voter applications.

Get involved

Contact the Labour NEC to question their stalling of supporter applications.

Write to your MP to question the NEC’s change of voting rules.

 

Featured Image via Saving Labour

 

 

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