EXCL Rachel Reeves: Labour members accused of racism should not vote in leadership contest
Labour members accused of anti-semitism should not be given a vote in the contest to elect the party's new leader and theiri deputy, according to a senior MP.
Rachel Reeves hit out as ballot papers begin dropping through the letter boxes of over half a million Labour members and registered supporters.
In a letter to Labour general secretary Jennie Formby, she said "it would be completely unacceptable for members with a history of anti-semitic abuse" to have a say on who the party's new leadership team should be.
Ms Reeves, who served in Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet, highlighted the case of Labour member Grace Halfpenny, who she has accused of unleashing "a barrage of abusive and false tweets" in the wake of the general election.
PoliticsHome revealed in December how Leeds West MP Ms Reeves was accused of being a "right-wing shill for the apartheid state of Israel" and a "Labour traitor".
Labour sources insisted Ms Halfpenny had been suspended by the party, and was therefore unable to vote in the leadership election.
In her letter to Ms Formby, Ms Reeves said: "As you will be aware, on 21 February the ballots to vote for leader and deputy leader will be distributed among Labour members, registered supporters and affiliate members.
"It would be extremely concerning should a sluggish complaints process allow individuals who have been racially abusive a vote for leader and deputy leader.
"I urge you to ensure that my complaint - and those of others, of which there may be many - is properly dealt with prior to the leader and deputy leadership ballots being released.
"I am sure you agree that it would be completely unacceptable for members with a history of anti-semitic abuse like Ms Halfpenny's to be able to play a role in determining the new leadership of our party. Instead, they should be expelled from our party altogether."
Jeremy Corbyn announced he was standing down as Labour leader in the wake of the party's general election defeat on 12 December.
His successor, as well as the new Labour deputy leader, will be announced at a special conference on 4 April.