Nat Marie given vote on new Labour leader

Lennox Herald - - NEWS - Lor­raine Weir

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

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