How can I vote in the Labour leadership election?

The rules have changed since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015. Here is what we know about how you can vote

Angela Eagle’s decision to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership has led to bitter fighting within the party over the rules of the contest. Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) ruled that, as incumbent leader, Corbyn’s name would automatically appear on the ballot paper. However, at the same time it changed some of the eligibility rules around voting.

Can I vote if I am a Labour member?

Yes – provided you joined the party before Tuesday 12 January 2016. Those who joined the party after that date – including those who were part of the huge surge in membership following the EU referendum result – will NOT be able to take part automatically.

Can I become a £3 supporter like last time?

No. However, there will still be a way to take part in the election as a “registered supporter”. Details are expected to be announced fully on Thursday, and it is anticipated that there will be a two-day window to register next week, and that this time around the cost will be £25.

Can I become a £25 supporter if I am a party member who joined after 12 January?

There doesn’t seem to be anything in the rules preventing you paying the £25 to obtain a vote at the election, regardless of your current membership status.

Is there a cheaper way to vote than paying £25?

Possibly. The Huntingdon Labour party has suggested that if you become a member of BAME Labour, LGBT Labour, Scientists for Labour or one of various other groups, you can become a registered supporter that way. These options are much cheaper. There is still a page on the Labour party website that implies this is a way to become a registered supporter.

Labour party website sign-up page
Labour party website sign-up page. Photograph: Labour party website

There is also a social media image being passed around on Facebook suggesting that joining the Unite union’s community membership scheme might also entitle you to vote.

Unity News image being pass around Facebook
Unity News image being pass around Facebook Photograph: Unity News/Facebook

We have contacted the Labour party for clarification about these potential loopholes.

Update: The Scientists for Labour group has suspended membership applications, explaining in a Facebook post that: “For anyone that really does want to be a member of Scientists for Labour, we’ll be processing all applications after the leadership contest. We think this is fair all round and is in keeping with the aims and wishes of the NEC. Scientists for Labour is a Labour-supporting science policy group – not a fast track for non-members to dictate who will lead the party.”

Scientists for Labour Facebook pos
Scientists for Labour Facebook post explaining their new membership restrictions Photograph: Scientists for Labour/Facebook

What are the key dates for the vote?

The timetable has not been confirmed, but a leaked document suggests that the last date for registering as a supporter will be Wednesday 20 July. Candidate nominations will be finalised on 21 July. Postal voting will start at the end of August, with a closing date of 21 September, and the result announced at a special conference on 24 September.


Martin Belam

The GuardianTramp

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