Party’s outsourcing and subsequent loss of data to criminals is hitting local parties in their bank accounts
Labour’s outsourcing of its membership system to private contractor Tangent led to a massive data breach in which the sensitive data of hundreds of thousands of members – and, scandalously, ex-members including victims of the purge of left members and councillors – was stolen by criminals. This appears certain to include financial information, but the party did not inform victims of the breach for months after it occurred.
And now local party groups are being hit by direct financial consequences of the breach too. A Labour national executive member has admitted that the party doesn’t now even know how many current members it has – though it knows the number is massively down from its peak under Jeremy Corbyn – and this is hitting ‘CLPs’, the constituency units that form the basis of Labour’s presence at large, in their bank accounts.
Under Labour’s rules members’ dues go to the central party, which doles out a small portion of those dues back to local parties for their activities. But now the party is not paying – and has told local officers that the data breach is the reason.
Of course, with the collapse of Labour’s finances now being openly, if quietly, admitted among the party’s right and its media friends it’s also possible that the breach is a useful excuse for something Labour central would rather avoid doing anyway, but that’s the story.
And it looks like the data loss is permanent: according to an email sent by Labour general secretary David Evans, Tangent refused to pay the ‘ransom’ demanded by the criminals, who have permanently corrupted it and prevented Labour from accessing it. Five months after the initial breach and two months after the party admitted it to its members, Labour’s membership system is still down and it’s hard to see how the cash-strapped husk of what was recently a great party can afford what must be the massive task of rebuilding its database.
All this is, of course, gold dust for the Tories’ next general election campaign: ‘How can you vote for Labour to run the country when they can’t run themselves? How can they keep you safe when they can’t protect their own members?’ It will be as toxic – and probably even more effective – than the 2015 ploy of claiming a Labour government would mean the break-up of the UK.
The Labour right has made the party a sick joke and the whole country, especially the many millions of poor and hungry, will suffer because of their arrogance. The betrayal is unforgivable.
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