A comedian who spoke up for Brighton Green MP Caroline Lucas at the general election has been banned from voting in the Labour leadership contest.
Jeremy Hardy spoke out on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning (Friday 21 August), accusing Labour of “rigging the election” to stop Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader.
Mr Hardy, a former Labour member, tried to rejoin the party but his application was rejected. He is one of a number of people to have been barred amid accusations of “entryism”.
He said that the party was changing the rules during the election process to weed out people like him.
Mr Hardy said that just because he had previously backed the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion he should not be prevented from taking part in the Labour leadership ballot.
He said that she was a democratic socialist – something that Labour was supposed to be although he doubted that many Labour MPs could claim to be democratic socialists.
The party cut the price of membership to £3 and has had applications to join from more than 120,000 people in recent weeks.
About 600,000 people will be eligible to vote for the next Labour leader, with Mr Corbyn regarded as the favourite by bookmakers.
Some existing Labour members fear that left-wingers and political opponents alike have been signing up to sabotage the party by electing Mr Corbyn.
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton – a Conservative – is one of them. His brief membership was reported in The Guardian and the subject of a Spectator blog by Mr Loughton himself.