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Jeremy Corbyn concerned at 'unfair' removal of vote from Labour members

Published 26/08/2016

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will reveal plans for an arts pupil premium at every English primary school
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will reveal plans for an arts pupil premium at every English primary school

Jeremy Corbyn has voiced concern that supporters have been "unfairly removed" from voting in the Labour leadership election.

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, Mr Corbyn called for an end to the online abuse being directed at Johanna Baxter, a member of the ruling National Executive Committee, over the suspensions.

He said: "I have been in touch with Johanna Baxter to let her know that I am appalled by the abuse directed towards her for her role on the National Executive Committee. No abuse is carried out in my name, and no one responsible for abuse is a genuine supporter of mine.

"I have repeatedly called for a kinder, gentler politics, which is why I launched Respect and Unity, a code of conduct calling on all Labour members and supporters to conduct themselves with a high standard of behaviour.

"I will be referring the abuse directed towards Johanna to the party so that action can be taken against the individuals responsible."

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