EXCL Rosena Allin-Khan hits out after Labour charges candidates £5,000 to access party members' data
A candidate to be Labour’s next deputy leader has hit out at party bosses after being told it will cost £5,000 to see details of those voting in the contest.
Rosena Allin-Khan said the charge was "deeply unfair" and unfairly hampers campaigns relying on small donations to continue.
Under Labour Party rules, candidates are entitled to access the details of all those who can vote in the contest so they can be canvassed.
But information provided to the campaigns by party officials says: "Prior to receiving this data candidates will be required to sign and return a data sharing agreement and pay an administration fee of £2,500 for each of the list of members and the list of registered/affiliated supporters."
Ms Allin-Khan, who is the only candidate still to make it through to the final round of the contest, told PoliticsHome: "Charging the candidates to become the next leader and deputy leader of Labour £5,000 each for access to the data the Labour Party holds is outrageous
"If we want to have an open, fair and diverse contest, how can it be right to charge exorbitant fees and put financial hurdles in the way of candidates?
"My campaign relies on small donations from supporters, so asking them to pay to help me access data the Labour Party already holds is deeply unfair. We are the party of fairness and equality, so why are we making it harder for candidates with less financial resources to become the next leader or deputy leader of Labour?
"I grew up in poverty and these are exactly the kind of obstacles that might have discouraged me from getting involved in politics.
"We should be trying to broaden our politics and encourage more people from diverse backgrounds to take part – we should not be introducing new financial obstacles to make that more difficult.
"I urge the Labour Party to reconsider this fee, and to allow all candidates for leader and deputy leader to have full and fair access to all the membership data so we can have the broadest possible contest."
A senior Labour source said the admin charge had been decided by the party's ruling National Executive Council and was set out at the start of the leadership contest.
Ian Murray, who is also running to be Labour deputy leader, also hit out at the £5,000 charge.
He said: "I will be writing to the general secretary to formally raise concerns about this unfair charge and asking her to abolish the charge.
"The Labour Party should not be putting financial barriers like this in the way of people who want the opportunity to stand for party posts.
"It discriminates against grassroots member-backed campaigns like mine, eating up nearly the entire sum that my supporters have generously donated through a crowdfunder."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe