On Monday, I highlighted in a post a problem within the Scottish Labour Party, two days later it seems that matters have gotten much worse.
I stated that after this contest was over that people will have a new view on Anas Sarwar and his supporters, and it won’t be positive. As much as the stories which have already came out regarding Anas Sarwar’s personal life and situation, this new revelation is the worst yet.
The Labour leadership contest hit by row over new members joining with same email addresses, when I read about this, my first thought was this isn’t happening from the campaign of Richard Leonard.
What is clear; is that the Scottish Labour Party needs to introduce new rules of membership voting. It is now out in the public domain that a sizeable number of new recruits who had signed up in recent weeks provided identical personal details in their applications. This has and should set alarm bells ringing because if single email address is being used then it raises the prospect of an individual casting someone else’s vote in the electronic ballot.
This cannot be a good thing for internal democracy and certainly won’t leave a good taste in anyone’s mouth post election, whoever wins, this grotty little episode will reflect badly on certain people.
Such is the concern that two secretaries of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) that nominated left-winger Richard Leonard for the leadership have raised concerns with Scottish Labour about this issue. When I started to read about what was going on, my immediate thought was how immoral and repugnant the practice was; now it seems that this contest is going to be seen by some as akin to vote rigging in order to attempt to win the leadership for Anas Sarwar.
The Leonard campaign has reacted by saying if complaints had been made then "we expect these will be dealt with through Scottish Labour Party's procedures." At this point in time, there isn’t much else that they can say.
A spokesperson for the campaign of Anas Sarwar however completely ignored the issue by saying:
“It’s incredibly encouraging that people across Scotlandhave joined the Labour Party and we are confident that many have been enthused to do so by Anas’s positive campaign and by a belief that he can be the next Labour First Minister.”
Anas Sarwar isn’t going to be the First Minister of Scotland, and if Richard Leonard gets elected then I doubt that Anas Sarwar will be holding the health brief, if any, and there should be an investigation into this affair.
This contest between Leonard and Sarwar has become a nasty bitter affair; this will encourage more support for people to join the Campaign for Socialism or Momentum if Sarwar wins.
Momentum is the pro Corbyn group within the Labour Party.
At the weekend, we heard that around 1600 sign-ups to Scottish Labour had happened with around 1200 of these being Asian members. This brought some to suggest that the sig ups were to “edge it” for Sarwar. The new facts put the application process under the microscope with a senior party source stating that in some cases, the same mobile phone number has been provided for all or many of the new members in a household. And it is also stated that in some multi-resident households put down the same email address.
Imagine that Anas Sarwar wins, who is going to work with anyone who is a supporter of him?
It is a bitter contest and for the sake of the party there has to be a victory for Richard Leonard or civil war will probably erupt in Scottish Labour, Momentum didn’t get their fight with Kezia Dugdale, she jumped ship but they will get new members by the truckload if this contest is seen as being vote rigged.
It isn’t enough that justice is done; it needs to be seen to be done!
Finally, a verification panel, chaired by interim party leader Alex Rowley, has been set up to scrutinise the sign-ups but given the way the Scottish Labour Party rules operate there appears little that can be done, and that is the real shame of this sorry episode.
The Campaign for Human Rights at