Labour supporters have been expelled from the party for threats against centrist figures, including one who said he would “cut Tony Blair’s eyes out and set him on fire”, according to a leaked document.
The document, obtained by the Daily Telegraph, also detailed expulsions resulting from racist and sexist comments, including one person who accused Jews of “owning the media” and used the word “Zio”, which was outlawed by Labour after being judged anti-Semitic in a report by Shami Chakrabarti.
The details emerged after shadow chancellor John McDonnell complained of a “rigged purge” of supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, who he suggested were being excluded without explanation from voting in his leadership contest with Owen Smith.
The Telegraph quoted an unnamed source close to Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee saying that many exclusions resulted from “offensive, nasty and often vile” comments, adding: “It demeans the Labour Party and this leadership process for people to make false claims that they have been denied a vote for superficial or petty reasons.”
One of the expelled members branded former shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn “scum” and called for all MPs who resigned from Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet to be deselected as candidates for the next election, the document said.
Meanwhile, Mr McDonnell indicated that the Labour leadership was talking to some of the 172 MPs who voted no confidence in Mr Corbyn in June about how they can “come back and work together” following the conclusion of the leadership contest on September 24.
According to the PoliticsHome website, Mr McDonnell told a rally in London that rebel MPs might be encouraged to toe the line by their Corbyn-backing constituency parties.
In comments which may be seen as a veiled reference to reselection, Mr McDonnell reportedly said: “When you look at the constituency nominations, large numbers of those who voted no confidence, their constituencies nominated Jeremy.
“They are going back to engage in a dialogue with members to talk about how they work together in future. That will generate co-operation at a national level.”
He added: “I know that there will be some within the PLP who will not give up the ghost on seeking to remove Jeremy. I don’t believe the vast bulk of the members of the PLP in any way want a split.
“We’re talking to people now about how they can come back and work together. I think the bulk of the PLP just want to get on with the job and in that way we can come to a new climate.”
A Labour spokesman said: “The Labour Party has a robust validation process for all votes to ensure every vote cast is eligible in keeping with the Labour Party rules. Decisions about individual members are taken by the NEC.
“Members who have been contacted by the Labour Party to confirm they are not deemed eligible to vote can contact the Party to obtain the evidence considered by the NEC.
“The NEC has always been clear that the party should act against this sort of abuse and that it has no place in the Labour Party.
“It is right that members who engage in abuse face being suspended.
“It is also vital to this process that those applying for a vote as a supporter who have been abusive on social media, or there is evidence to suggest they do not share the Labour Party’s aims and values, lose that vote.
“The Labour Party is and should always be a place of tolerance and open debate but it should never tolerate this type of abusive language and threatening behaviour.”