Labour leadership election: Voting closes amid concerns

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Voting has closed in the race to become the next leader of the Labour Party.

Amid fresh warnings the party could “collapse” if left winger Jeremy Corbyn wins, the three-month campaign ended at midday with the results on Saturday.

Mr Corbyn is up against Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper.

Campaign team sources claimed thousands of people have not received their ballot papers, but Labour insisted ballots had been emailed and posted out correctly.

The party said everyone who had not voted or said they did not have a ballot had received a final email reminder on Tuesday.

Mr Corbyn only made it onto the ballot paper at the last minute when nominations were finalised in June but has become the bookies’ favourite.

This is it. The last minute phone banks, panics over missing ballots, final pleas from the candidates are done.

The vote is now over and now Labour’s wait begins. Before the result though it seems already the party has been changed, possibly forever by these extraordinary last few months.

An unexpected candidate has done the unexpected and Jeremy Corbyn has put himself into the most likely position to win the contest. Strikingly, that is against the better judgement of nearly every single senior figure in the Labour Party, and crucially nearly all of its MPs.

One of the MPs who helped him onto the ballot, Jon Cruddas, said he was concerned about the prospect of him winning.

Mr Cruddas, who wrote Labour’s last election manifesto said in Today’s programme: “I am worried that [Labour] might turn into quite an early 80s tribute act, a Trotskyist tribute act which has the culture around it which is very hostile to anyone who disagrees and it could just collapse in front of the electorate.”

The contest has been plagued by internal rows over Labour’s direction and concerns that non-party supporters have tried to influence the outcome.

Labour has said efforts to weed out non-party supporters would continue up until results day.

In the closing speech of her campaign, Ms Kendall – who has stressed the need for Labour to appeal to a broader section of the electorate – said she may have been “too blunt” at times.

She added: “But my view is that in politics, as in life, you cannot deal with problems by ignoring or avoiding them.”

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