Not the time to criticise voting system - Sir Ian

Sir Ian McCartney

Sir Ian McCartney

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A FORMER borough MP and Labour grandee has urged his party to “get through” its leadership race amid criticism of the new voting system.

Sir Ian McCartney said those complaining should have spoken up when the measures were put in place under Ed Milband’s leadership.

And the ex-Makerfield MP revealed that residents with Tory, BNP and Ukip links have been thwarted in attempts to infiltrate the vote.

He said: “This system was put in place without enough consultation with people on the ground and the previous leader left hours after the general election result with little time for us to get organised.

“I’m being a pragmatist about this, we need to get through the election and start taking this government to task.

“Suspending (the election) would leave us without a leader for nine to 12 months.”

The party voting process was changed to reduce the influence of trade unions with new members permitted to vote if they pledge allegiance to Labour values and pay £3.

Party insiders have voiced fears the system is being exploited by ‘entryists’; opponents signing up to the party to sabotage the vote.

Sir Ian said: “It is wrong to think everyone signing up is going to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. I will put my mortgage on a majority of those signing up in the North West being Andy Burnham supporters.

“I have no doubt the voting process will be looked at again, this is the first time we’ve used it and there have been problems. It was a response to the unions, but it has made it more complicated.

“But those complaining should be aware this is not the right time. We should be concerned with helping our MPs get stuck in to this government.”

He added: “Just today we have identified people with Tory, Ukip and BNP links who have tried to sign up and will not be getting a vote.”