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Thu, 22 October 2020

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Labour leadership row erupts after party reports Keir Starmer's team for 'data breach'

Labour leadership row erupts after party reports Keir Starmer's team for 'data breach'
2 min read

The Labour leadership contest has erupted after party officials accused Keir Starmer's team of breaching strict data laws.


Senior figures reported Sir Keir's team to the Information Commissioner's Office after they raised concerns Rebecca Long-Bailey's team had potentially gained access to party members' contact details.

According to the BBC, two members of Sir Keir's team have been accused of "data scraping", effectively hacking into the party's data base in order to canvas members during the leadership race.

But a spokesperson for Keir Starmer’s campaign said: "We categorically reject these nonsensical allegations and are incredibly disappointed that they have been leaked to the media.

"We are still awaiting the party’s formal response to the serious concerns we and others had about access to Labour Party membership data."

The row demonstrates how bitter the battle between bookies' favourite Sir Keir and Mrs Long-Bailey - seen as the leadership's favoured candidate - has become.

A senior Labour source told PoliticsHome: "The Labour Party under Jennie Formby and Karie Murphy’s sectarian leadership have reported Keir’s team for a story which showed that RLBs team had unauthorised access to the membership system. 

"Rather than respond to the complaint or investigate they’ve reported Keir’s team to the ICO and then leaked it to the BBC. 

"This is a politically-motivated attack trying to use the resources and standing of the national party to effect the result of the Labour leadership. 

"Labour Party members will want to know that she has reported herself and the LP for the original breach and ensured it cannot happen again.

"This is yet again another example of targeting junior members of staff for political motives, a pattern of behaviour that has sadly become all too commonplace in the Labour Party under the current general secretary.

"This whole process has been designed to intimidate. It’s the type of internal culture party members have had enough of."

A Labour Party spokesperson said: "The Labour Party takes its legal responsibilities for data protection – and the security and integrity of its data and systems – extremely seriously.

"We have written to all leadership candidates to remind them of their obligations under the law and to seek assurances that membership data will not be misused."

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