CALLS have been made to investigate the political affiliations of the newly elected chairman the Brighton and Hove Labour Party over claims he may have been involved in rival left-wing groups.

Mark Sandell was elected chairman of the district party's executive committee at its annual general meeting on Saturday, alongside three others linked to the pro-Jeremy Corbyn group Momentum.

Concerned Labour member Steve Gladwin believes Mr Sandell may have been a member of the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) party, which is a Trotskyite political grouping to the left of Labour.

Labour Party rules state members who joins or support political organisations other than Labour, or support candidates who stand against official Labour candidates, is "automatically ineligible" to be a member.

Online evidence shows that in 2011, NUT member Mark Sandell signed an AWL petition of solidarity for embattled Zimbabwean trades unionists.

The Argus was unable to confirm whether the new Labour chairman, a long-time NUT member, was a member of AWL at the time - though Labour members believe he was connected to the group.

Mr Gladwin said: “I have uncovered information which I've passed onto regional party officials for further investigation.

“My hope is that we can then move forward in the assurance that the city party is now being led by officials whose first and only interest is the Labour Party.”

In September 2015, the AWL applied to the Electoral Commission to be de-registered as political party, enabling its supporters to join the Labour Party - although the group maintains Labour Party rules do not prohibit its members joining.

Newly elected district party secretary Greg Hadfield said earlier this week: "All members and all candidates who attended the annual meeting were verified Labour Party members eligible to vote and/or stand for office.

“The nominations were made public on June 30. I am not aware of anyone questioning the status of any candidates."

The Argus has heard from at least one other party member who has concerns over Mr Sandell's political background, who could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Peter Atkinson, Labour councillor for North Portslade, revealed he has received vicious hate emails after co-signing what he described as a polite petition calling for Jeremy Corbyn to “consider his position.”

He said the message called him “an abomination” who was unfit to be a Labour councillor - but he said it was “not uncommon.”

Mr Atkinson and Councillor Alan Robins also confirmed that unlike council leader Warren Morgan and Hove MP Peter Kyle, they were not aligned with the Progress wing of the Labour party.


AN ONLINE fund has been launched to help Labour supporters pay the additional fee needed to vote in the leadership race.

It follows an announcement late on Tuesday night that Labour members would not be eligible to vote if they joined after January 12 this year.

The decision made at Labour’s National Executive Committee means more than 100,000 people who have joined the party in the last six months will not be sent ballot papers.

But there will be a two-day window next week where people can secure a vote by signing up for a £25 fee.

During the leadership election last year, in which Mr Corbyn secured 59.5 per cent of the vote in the first round of the contest after a surge in support from registered supporters, the one-off payment was set at £3.

Mr Corbyn is being challenged by Angela Eagle as well as Owen Smith, who entered the contest yesterday.

Mr Smith’s announcement came amid reports the NEC had suspended all local Constituency Labour Party meetings until the end of the leadership campaign following complaints of harassment and intimidation.

He said he decided to stand for the leadership after seeing a “dramatic collapse of faith and confidence in Jeremy” over “the last couple of weeks”.

He said: “I’m not prepared to stand by and let the Labour Party, the party I love and that has been the greatest force for good in this country, split. It cannot happen.”

The Pontypridd MP is to the left of Ms Eagle – but he said he would vote to keep Trident and would oppose attempts to hold Tony Blair in contempt over his decision to go to war in Iraq.

The candidates now face a major battle to overturn grassroots support for Mr Corbyn, who secured 59.5 per cent of the vote in the first round of last year’s contest after a surge in support from registered supporters.