In Brief

‘Gloves off’ as Keir Starmer campaign accused of hacking

Labour leadership frontrunner's supporters deny allegations from Jennie Formby

The Labour leadership campaign has turned sour after Labour’s most senior official accused Keir Starmer’s staff of hacking into an internal party database.

Jennie Formby, general secretary of Labour and an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, has reported Starmer’s campaign to Britain’s data watchdog over claims that it had gained unauthorised access to a list of party members.

The Times reports that Formby’s move has “infuriated” Labour MPs, who accused pro-Corbyn factions of dragging the leadership race into “the gutter” in an attempt to derail Starmer’s campaign.

The Independent says “the gloves came off” over the weekend as Labour’s leadership election “descended into a row about dirty tricks”.

The frontrunner’s supporters say Formby’s allegations are “utter, utter nonsense” and a tit-for-tat move after they had raised concerns about the data use of Rebecca Long Bailey, the preferred successor of Jeremy Corbyn.

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.” Neither man has yet officially declared for a candidate.

Currently, Starmer has no way of canvassing voters directly, but Long Bailey has access to a separate, extensive database of members built up by the campaign group Momentum.

Running alongside Starmer and Long-Bailey are Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry. Starmer, Long-Bailey and Nandy have already qualified for the final stages of the campaign by getting sufficient support but Thornberry has yet to do so.

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