‘Colleague’ signed me up to Labour says Tory Chichester district councillor

Chichester district councillor, Thomas Dempster SUS-151105-162431001
Chichester district councillor, Thomas Dempster SUS-151105-162431001

A TORY district councillor has been signed up to the Labour Party without his consent prior to its leadership contest.

Conservative Thomas Dempster, 22, was elected to Chichester District Council in May, but someone using his name and address was discovered to have joined the rival political party.

The European politics student at Kings College London was a shock winner at the elections in May, toppling long-serving Liberal Democrat Tony French – despite Cllr Dempster only being a paper candidate.

After being contacted by the Observer, the Chichester East representative said a colleague signed him and a number of other colleagues up without their knowledge, and he had since written to the Labour branch secretary asking to have his name removed.

“An over-enthusiastic colleague signed myself and a number of colleagues up without our consent,” said Cllr Dempster.

“I would not attempt to sway the leadership election – it may be damaging to the Labour Party to have Jeremy Corbyn elected but it would also be very damaging to the country, and therefore is not something that should be treated as a joke.”

Chichester district councillor, Thomas Dempster SUS-151105-162431001

Chichester district councillor, Thomas Dempster SUS-151105-162431001

James Hobson, Chichester city branch secretary for the Labour Party, explained he discovered Mr Dempster’s name as he was checking if the new member and supporters were sympathetic to Labour before they were allowed to vote in the leadership election.

Mr Hobson said: “I’m very glad he agrees with me that being honest in politics and upholding democracy is the most important thing of all.

“I hope we can agree that this kind of thing is not on, and democracy is more important than playing silly games.”

Conservative supporters have been urging people on social media sites to sign up as an affiliated Labour member for £3 so they can vote for Mr Corbyn, who is seen by many as the most left-wing candidate.

The registration deadline in order to vote in the Labour leadership election was yesterday.

The four candidates are Mr Corbyn, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, and Liz Kendall.

Several Labour MPs have called for the leadership contest to be suspended because of fears it had been infiltrated by supporters of other parties.

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