Nat Marie given vote on new Labour leader
An SNP councillor from West Dunbartonshire was given a vote in the Scottish Labour leadership race.
But Marie McNair denied that she registered as an affiliated Labour supporter through the Unison trade union.
Her name had reportedly been added to a list of valid voters by the party HQ and was passed on to the local constituency branch last week but Ms McNair told the Lennox Herald that she had no knowledge of this.
After our sister paper, the Daily Record, contacted Labour on Thursday and pointed out Ms McNair is an elected SNP councillor they said her name would be struck off the list.
The leadership race is being contested between Richard Leonard and Anas Sarwar.
To vote under Labour rules people can either join the party as a full member, sign up as a registered supporter or become a supporter of an attached trade union.
But there are concerns the decision to allow new members to sign up until October 9, almost six weeks after Kezia Dugdale triggered the contest by quitting, opened the system up to abuse.
Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie said it is “ridiculous” the system is so open to abuse an SNP councillor could have made it on to the list.
She added: “We obviously need much more stringent verification processes to check who is getting a vote.”
A source in the Anas Sarwar campaign said: “It is farcical if an SNP councillor can get a vote in a Labour leadership election through the affiliate process.”
But a Scottish Labour spokesman insisted the signup process is solid.
He said: “Any affiliated or registered supporter would be expected to support the aims and values of the Labour Party.
“The party has a robust process in place to ensure verification of new members and registered supporters.
“This person will not be eligible for a vote in the leadership contest.”
Marie McNair branded the issue “fake news”, adding that she is too busy representing her constituents to be bothered about the fiasco.
She added: “I did not sign up to vote in Leonard v Sarwar Labour leadership contest.”
Nationalist West Dunbartonshire Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “Emails have been coming out to trade union members (including myself as a Unison member) asking us to register to vote if we wished.
“Marie did not register. Nor did I or anyone else in my group who is a trade union member.
“It appears that Marie’s name remains on Labour’s list, having previously been a Labour councillor and trade union Labour affiliate group member.”
It is farcical if an SNP councillor can get a vote in a Labour leadership election
Denial Marie McNair