Jon Lansman told HuffPostUK that it was clear that Paddy Lillis has been “misinformed about the content of my representations to Iain McNicol”.
“I did not allege that “staff had given one candidate team advance sight of questions”, but merely sought assurances. Unfortunately, Iain’s assertion that the “moderator or staff have not, and will never, pass on questions to either candidate or their teams” weren’t accompanied by the more detailed assurances I sought about the exact selection and handling of the questions,” he said.
Lansman added that “Labour Party members and the general public can draw their own conclusions about those things. Indeed they have done so already, and for the most part it is not a favourable one”.
“The reason I raised these precise questions and said “I have reason to believe that our concerns are justified” is that it had been suggested to us by a confidential source who had previously supplied accurate information that it would be advisable to do so. We hope that raising our concerns have been sufficient to deter any unfair conduct of the party’s hustings.”
The second hustings meeting is in Gateshead tonight.
The letter comes as Labour’s HQ today appeals this week’s court ruling that the NEC had acted unlawfully in setting a “freeze date” of January for eligibility for members in the leadership election.
Corbyn says the freeze date is undemocratic, cuts out tends of thousands of new members and is a waste of much-needed party funds.
HuffPostUK has been told by party sources that an estimated 60% of the members who joined since January are Corbyn supporters and 40% Smith supporters.
Today’s court appeal, which was heavily criticised by the Corbyn team, comes amid increasingly acrimonious relations between deputy leader Tom Watson and the Labour leader’s campaign.
Former Shadow Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer claimed that if the appeal failed, the NEC could face further legal action. But Corbyn supporters said the courts had upheld the principle that new members had been promised a vote.
Watson on Wednesday sent a dossier to the Corbyn campaign detailing how far-left “Trotskyist entryists” are infiltrating the party, and called on the leader to say that such groups should not be allowed to join Labour.