As Labour purges leadership election voters, will its next leader struggle for legitimacy?

Will the next Labour leader will have a difficult job in uniting the party?

Tom Mludzinski is head of political polling at ComRes, says Yes

No matter who wins, the next Labour leader will have a difficult job in uniting the party.

If, as many commentators are predicting, Jeremy Corbyn is victorious, one of his biggest challenges will be to get the Parliamentary Labour Party behind him. Many have already said that they won’t serve in his shadow cabinet.

A challenge to his legitimacy comes if they do not feel able to recommend Corbyn as Prime Minister to the electorate come election time. Furthermore, ComRes polling shows that Corbyn is also the candidate most likely to turn off regular Labour voters – not just members – from voting for the party.

Although a victory in the race to be leader would suggest a significant core of loyalists, that marmite quality is what threatens the stability of a potential Corbyn leadership.

If Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham or Liz Kendall were to win, however, arguments over who was “purged” may prove tempting ammunition for a disgruntled runner up.

Jon McLeod is chairman of UK corporate, financial and public affairs at Weber Shandwick, says No

If anything, the lucky winner of the Labour leadership contest could come out stronger from the hullabaloo of the voting process than any predecessor. Why?

First, the electorate is voting directly, and not through the old college system that watered down members’ votes with those of MPs and affiliated unions.

Second, the sheer number of members and friends registered to vote, at a cool half a million, makes much more of a franchise than any UK party leader has ever enjoyed in history.

Finally, the party and the contenders appear to have accepted that, despite the concerns, the result will be the result.

Efforts are being made to weed out smart Alecs who have registered their cats and such like, so the party machine will have to stand by its claims to be able to deliver due process.

Whether that stops an angry Blairite from judicially reviewing the whole thing is anyone’s guess.

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