A senior party figure has warned Scottish Labour are on the verge of a civil war in Dundee following disappointing EU election results and claims the group has been infiltrated by the “hard left”.
The long-time member, who did not want to be named, hit out at the leadership of Richard Leonard and UK leader Jeremy Corbyn and called for urgent changes following a difficult election campaign which saw the party slip into third place in Dundee.
The source described feeling they no longer have a voice in the party following an influx of hard-left members and associates, including figures from rival groups.
The Courier reported in April how by-election candidate Jim Malone was urged to apologise after campaigning with former councillor Raymond Mennie, who was jailed on corruption charges and now manages the Communist Party’s Dundee branch.
It is understood a number of officials and elected representatives have privately expressed concerns following an exodus of long-serving party members but tensions have been heightened following the EU election results.
A party source said: “We have members of the Communist Party sitting in local all members meetings and having more of a say than members who disagree with the leadership.
“We have people who stood against the party in the local council elections as members of the party. I am watching Corbyn and his puppet Richard (Leonard) kill the party and it is really sad.
“We can’t continue to kid ourselves that we are winning, the fact is we’re not. The only solution for Labour to be an electable party again is fresh new leadership before we die.”
Mr Corbyn’s leadership was the subject of fresh scrutiny at a party meeting on Monday night as several MPs admitted they felt ashamed to vote for the party at the EU election.
Concerns have also been raised about whether the party can suitably hold itself to account over poor results in Dundee amid claims Mr Corbyn’s supporters have seized “full control of the party, from our internal governing boards to local executives”.
Another senior Labour official in the city admitted the perceived lack of a clear direction on Brexit had been a “hard sell” for activists in the weeks leading up to the election but rejected the characterisation of a party at war with itself.
It is understood the local group has recently passed a motion in support of the leadership in the wake of the election results.
Pauline Rourke, chair of Dundee City Labour Party, described the comments as “extremely disappointing” and “certainly not a representation of what I see”.
She said: “My style of chairmanship has always been open and inclusive, and the senior officers pride themselves on treating all with respect.
“While we may be a broad church, we are working together united for the common good to deliver a Labour government should a general election be called.
“I believe our ability to organise and campaign in a very positive way was demonstrated by a 9% swing to Labour in the recent North East by-election.”