LABOUR’S leadership campaign has turned ugly with frontrunner Keir Starmer accused of hacking the party’s membership database.

His campaign team have described the allegation as “utter, utter nonsense”.

They’ve also said the claims are being made to bolster the chances of Rebecca Long-Bailey, the preferred candidate of the left.

The row emerged as Starmer was forced to take some time away from the contest following the death of his mother-in-law two weeks after an accident left her critically ill.

Late last week, Labour officials wrote to two members of Starmer’s team to say they had been referred to the independent Information Commissioner’s Office for “data-scraping”.

Within days of the referral being made, the news leaked to the BBC.

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Starmer’s campaign manager Jenny Chapman told Radio 5 Live that the row started after they reported Long-Bailey for sending an email to thousands of supporters that included a link to a database of potential backers who could be contacted.

This link appeared to access the Labour party phone bank of contacts, which contravened leadership rules.

Chapman said the Starmer campaign then alerted the party to what was an inadvertent data breach.

“And that was really the end of it, as far as we were concerned. The next thing you know, a couple of people on our campaign receive letters saying: ‘Actually, we think you’ve done something wrong.’ It’s utter, utter nonsense.”

A spokesman for Starmer’s campaign said: “We categorically reject these nonsensical allegations and are incredibly disappointed that they have been leaked to the media. We are still awaiting the party’s formal response to the serious concerns we and others had about access to Labour party membership data.”

Labour has rejected any bias, saying it has a legal responsibility for potential misuse of data.