HARRIET Harman has ordered checks on newly signed-up members of the Labour Party, many of which have paid their three quid in order to take part in the leadership contest, amid fears of infiltration. Maybe somebody could’ve thought about that risk when they made it easier to vote in this than a local ward selection choice for a council election candidate.
We already know that new numbers have been added to the list in Holborn and St Pancras – membership: around 2k – but some of this was meant to have been due to new MP Keir Starmer’s ‘plus one’ campaign where existing members were all asked to recruit someone new on the back of the enthusiasm generated by a lively local parliamentary selection contest and then the general election.
But it turns out Ms Harman’s worries may be on the money, and not all of the Camden three quidders are likely to be around for the long haul. Of course, I have not seen the new list but insiders say there are clearly Tory sympathisers in there now, perhaps seduced by the Telegraph shove about joining up to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, a move it says would lock Labour out of power for years. There are a few old Socialist Workers Party and Respect faces – or Trots, as the other side of the movement call them – now on the list, plus a few people who had been assumed, rightly or wrongly, to be Green voters. The putting two and two together argument here is that it is obvious who they have joined up to support.
Perhaps, even more interesting, however, is a bumper rush of journalists who have reportedly paid up to the local branches. Writers from the Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times and Financial Times are among the new local members, according to the whispers. Of course, there is nothing to stop journalists joining the local party or any other branch of the Labour Party – there are national journalists who have been members in Camden for years. But welcoming so many new reporters into the house within a matter of a few short weeks has raised eyebrows as to what copy we can expect from them in the next few weeks, and what information, as members, is now being pumped straight into their inboxes.