04 March 2020
The Labour Party leadership campaign has been soured after its most senior official accused Sir Keir Starmer’s staff of hacking into an internal party database.
Jennie Formby, general secretary of Labour and an ally of outgoing leader Jeremy Corbyn, reported Starmer’s campaign to Britain’s data watchdog over claims that it had gained unauthorised access to a party membership list.
The former Labour cabinet minister Lord Falconer of Thoroton said that the claims against Starmer were a “bare-faced and repulsive attempt to cause problems for his campaign”.
The Labour MP Wes Streeting said: “It is disappointing that the Labour leadership race has gone from being a good-natured debate between candidates to one which is being fought in the gutter by proxies.”
Currently, Starmer has no way of canvassing voters directly, but Rebecca Long-Bailey, who is also running for leadership against Lisa Nandy, has access to a separate, extensive database of members built up by the campaign group Momentum.
The frontrunner’s supporters said Formby’s allegations are “utter, utter nonsense” and a tit-for-tat move after they had raised concerns about the data use of Long Bailey, preferred successor, by a section of the party to Jeremy Corbyn.