Labour officials claim ‘error’ led to members receiving Long-Bailey endorsement without disclaimer

PUBLISHED: 10:00 26 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:32 26 February 2020

Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey speaks to supporters at a campaign event in Hackney, London. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey speaks to supporters at a campaign event in Hackney, London. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Labour officials have denied the party intended to deceive members by sending an email endorsement from John McDonnell backing Rebecca Long-Bailey as ballots dropped in the leadership race.

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Although the move is not unusual for the party to send out mass emails on behalf of candidates, this one did not include the disclaimer making clear that they are not taking an official party line.

It was also sent with McDonnell as the sender's name and a Labour HQ email address - rather the campaign itself in the sender's name.

In the shadow chancellor's email McDonnell claimed that Long-Bailey is the "working class woman" who can be trusted to "carry forward our socialist programme".

He said the election of a female leader would be a "historic" moment for the party.

According to the Telegraph, Labour officials claimed that the email without the disclaimer had been an "error".

MORE: How Rebecca Long-Bailey has come full circle on her Brexit views

But those close to Lisa Nandy told the newspaper that they intend to lodge a complaint because it was a "clear breach of the rules" - especially as it happened at a key time when members are likely to cast their votes.

"There are questions to answer about why this happened, how this happened and how they are going to rectify it," they told the Telegraph.

Social media users complained that the e-mail was misleading.

"I've has an email from long Bailey but made to look as if it's directly from John McDonnell. It's called NOT being honest," wrote Anne Bayliss. "Is it within the rules even? Can you explain how this is allowed?"

"John McDonnell emailed endorsing RLB... was this a normal campaign email or general Party email? It's not clear if it came from the campaign or party? Looks dodge?" asked @nlrewind.

Councillor Charlotte Hill tweeted: "I've just received an email from Labour on behalf of John McDonnell stating why he supports Rebecca Long Bailey. But I thought we were only going to receive one email from each candidate (unless we signed up to their campaign)?"

Jason Dixon wrote: "McDonnell's email clearly gives RLB an unfair advantage, none of the other candidates were allowed third party endorsement emails. This needs to be looked into."

"I respect and like John McDonnell a lot but sending around an email to members endorsing RLB is not the one sis," tweeted another.

Meanwhile the Tories have sent e-mail to supporters urging them to help raise £500,000 - warning they "have a problem" when a new Labour leader is implemented as they will benefit from the "public's curiosity".

"Unlike with previous new leaders this one will have the resources to put themselves on a path to power from day one," the party claims.

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