“One in five” Labour members in London have not recieved their ballot papers, David Lammy, a candidate for the London mayoralty, has revealed. Canvassing by the Lammy campaign has found that close to a fifth of London members will not be able to vote in the contest, which ends today at noon. The Tottenham MP called for a “very swift and through inquiry” into the handling of the election.
Although rejected applications and delayed ballots are unlikely to change the result of the Labour leadership race itself, where Jeremy Corybn is widely considered to be the inevitable favourite, missing ballots may yet have a decisive effect on the downticket races. The deputy race is highly likely to be won by Tom Watson, although insiders believe that he will need to poll 40 per cent or above in the first round to avoid losing on transfers. But the mayoral race appears to be genuinely open, with a three-horse race emerging between Tessa Jowell, Sadiq Khan and Diane Abbott in the contest’s final stages. Some campaign insiders believe that those voters who have left it to the final days to vote are new sign-ups, inspired to join by Corbyn but without much knowledge of the candidates for mayor or deputy leader. “There are some £3 supporters who just say ‘I am voting for Jeremy’, and you can’t persuade them this is a different election,” one staffer from a deputy race said, “But the majority are reading every emaill, they want even more information about the deputy and mayoral candidates – a lot of these late voters are from that group.”
The mood in Labour party headquarters remains bleak. Although under 4,000 people have had their applications denied as a result of membership of Labour’s rivals, many within One Brewers’ Green believe that thousands more members of other parties remain on the rolls. “This is going to be the first and only time the Green party wins an election,” quipped one.