Labour Party infested with communists? ‘Red scare’ grips leadership race

© Eduard Korniyenko
Interim Labour leader Harriet Harman has defended her party’s leadership election system amid near-hysterical fears it has experienced a mass infiltration by communists and left-wing “extremists.”

Harman outlined the “rigorous” procedures in place to vet new applicants to the party, which include checking peoples Facebook accounts, to ensure they share “the aims and values of the Labour Party.”

Several Labour MPs have expressed fears the party has become infested with hard-left entryists seeking to boost the chances of veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership race.

An unnamed senior Labour figure described the influx of socialists as a “very serious threat to the democracy of the party” and called for the election race to be scrapped.

Acting leader Harman defended the new leadership election system as being more robust than its predecessor, which allowed opponents of Labour to vote without any checks.

Critics of the system allege that by offering a vote to anyone willing to pay a £3 (US$4.67) supporters fee, Labour has left itself exposed to an influx of left-wing “extremists” seeking to shift the trajectory of the party.

Harman outlined the checks in place to ensure new applicants to the party are not communist entryists, socialists or moderately left-wing voters.

Labour constituency parties have been urged to check and challenge the credentials of new members, while applicants from unions are invited to register in person or via a telephone recording.

Harman said full-time staff are working shifts six days a week listening to these calls, adding that even she had listened to some of the recordings.

The Labour Party is worried by its sudden popularity among the electorate, with 68,000 people having joined since the May general election, some 20,000 of whom have joined since the leadership candidates were announced.

A further 21,000 joined the party as registered supporters, having paid the fee online.

While some pundits have attributed the rise in popularity to Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing platform – which include policies such as scrapping tuition fees – Labour insiders fear the party has been infiltrated by socialists.

An anonymous former cabinet minister under Gordon Brown called for the election to be halted given the crisis faced by the party.

I absolutely think it is a determined and deliberate attempt to infiltrate the election by powerful unions and it is a very serious threat to the democracy of the party,” the senior figure told the Telegraph.

These are not Labour Party people. I think this is a deliberate attempt to infiltrate the party and distort the basic democracy of the Labour Party.

Labour MP John Mann said the election race was in danger of being hijacked by left-wing infiltrators.

It is becoming a farce with long-standing members ... in danger of getting trumped by people who have opposed the Labour Party and want to break it up – expressly want to break it up,” he told the Sunday Times.

Some of it is the Militant Tendency types coming back in.

The Militant Tendency was a socialist organization which sought to infiltrate Labour during the 1980s in a bid to push the party to the left.

The group was purged by party leaders through a series of expulsions, but continues to be blamed for Labour’s failure to achieve power throughout the 1980s.

The Socialist Party of England and Wales – formerly the Militant Tendency – said the party’s new election system had accidentally opened the leadership contest to working class people with left-wing views.

It is ironic that it is their own destruction of the Labour Party’s democratic structures that have inadvertently created this situation,” the party said in a statement.

By turning the Labour Party leadership into a kind of US-style ‘primary’ where anyone can vote for £3, they aimed to further marginalize the trade unions and the left in the Labour Party, but they have accidentally let in the voice of the many people who were totally disillusioned by Labour’s endless austerity-lite mantra.”

The Socialist Party said it wished Corbyn well in the election, but insisted it is not encouraging its supporters to join Labour.