Fears of Labour leadership stitch-up as party set rules to replace Jeremy Corbyn


LABOUR figures have today warned against a “stitch up” as the leadership meets to set the rules for the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn.

The party’s ruling body will today kick off the leadership election and decide the length of the contest.

Jeremy Corbyn arriving at today’s NEC meeting to discuss the leadership race

So far Sir Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and backbenchers Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips have said they will run.

Rebecca Long Bailey and Ian Lavery are expected to go for the top job too.

But moderate candidate fear that Mr Corbyn’s allies will try and change the rules to favour their preferred candidate.

The NEC will decide the length of the contest, as well as how much people will have to pay to become “registered Labour supporters” to get a vote.

And they will need to decide the cut off point at which people can join the party to vote in the leadership election.
As many moderates have left under Mr Corbyn, this could disadvantage MPs like Ms Phillips or Ms Nandy, who are likely to back more left-wing choices.

One MP told the Telegraph: “The NEC is weighted towards Jeremy Corbyn. They could change the rules to stop new members joining or having a vote, or they could put up the membership fee to 50.”

Party chairman Mr Lavery was in attendance at today’s NEC meeting – even though he’s still considering whether to stand.

Ms Long Bailey did not take up her seat as she is planning to run.

He told ITV on the way in: “Im going to wait and see what happens today, well take everything as it goes”.

Meanwhile, PoliticsHome revealed today that Corbyn’s allies are planning a shake-up of the party before the current Labour boss steps down.

Mr Corbyn’s chief of staff Karie Murphy, and Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby have drawn up sweeping changes in the wake of last month’s election.

They are said to include changes to the party’s data and analytics team, which is in charge of polling, and wants to rip up the system of regional organisers.

Sir Keir Starmer is the current front-runner
Rebecca Long Bailey is set to run for leader – and friend Angela Rayner to run as deputy
Jess Phillips is running too

One senior party source accused Ms Murphy and Ms Formby of wanting to “burn the house down” before Mr Corbyn’s successor is chosen.

A senior Labour Party source said: “Organisational review is normal and necessary after a general election.

“Any staffing or structural changes would be subject to full consultation with the relevant trade unions.”