Labour in meltdown? Here's everything you need to know

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Three months after Labour's defeat in the general election and the party is in complete turmoil as left-wing candidate Jeremy Corbyn looks favourite to be named its new leader.

With voter registration closing on Wednesday, and ballot papers set to be sent out from Friday, here's how the party has descended into civil war...

Letter of complaint

Corbyn's three leadership rivals have complained to Labour HQ that he could now have an unfair advantage because of the party's chaotic voting system.

The party has been under pressure to delay the contest after 164,000 people signed up as supporters in a last-minute surge.

Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper believe Corbyn may secure earlier access than them to the names of trade unionists who have become affiliated supporters because of his links to the big unions Unite and Unison - which could allow him more time to canvass for support.

Although, as Diane Abbott pointed out on Channel 4 news on Wednesday night, they've had two years to discuss the voting system. Perhaps they are only complaining now because they fear they might lose...

Electoral Reform Society expresses concern

The Electoral Reform Society called for Labour to delay the contest, after claims that people who support other parties have signed up to vote for Mr Corbyn.

At least 409,000 people have signed up as members or supporters since the May general election; 610,753 may now be allowed to take part: 299,755 full members; 189,703 trade unionists and 121,295 registered supporters.

Tony Blair chimes in

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The man who led Labour to three general election victories warns that under Corbyn, Labour would face "rout, possibly annihilation" at the 2020 election and a defeat worse than the 1983 drubbing under Michael Foot.

The Labour Party is in danger more mortal today than at any point in the over 100 years of its existence... The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched, over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below.

This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes ‘disunity’. It is a moment for a rugby tackle if that were possible.

Alastair Campbell also chimes in

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Some of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters have been accused of bullying his leadership rivals with online personal attacks.

Reflecting this, Tony Blair's former communications director said: “Corbyn himself is a nice guy, but I am not so sure about some of his friends. There is a real ‘cybernat’ feel to some of his supporters.”

An ominous warning from the Tories

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The Conservative party has been conspicuously quiet on the unfolding turmoil within Labour's ranks, but Tory HQ has been preparing an "attack dossier" to use against Jeremy Corbyn should he win.

Researchers have been told to dig through voting records and public comments made by the veteran left-winger going back over more than two decades. That material will then be fed to David Cameron and other ministers for questions in parliament.

A Conservative source told the i paper on Wednesday: “We are certainly not sitting by to wait and see what happens."

We may not be saying anything publicly but it would be fair to assume that we are working on what a Corbyn victory means for us and how to respond to it. Come September we will be ready.

A sign of how ludicrous it has become

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Mark Steel, the comedian and Independent columnist, has been barred from voting in the leadership election.

Steel, who has volunteered to knock on doors for the party in the past, said he was "fuming" at the rejection, which he was told was because he does not "support their values".

The comic questioned whether it was right for Tony Blair to be allowed to vote given that he had invaded Iraq for a "completely bogus" reason.

More than 1,200 people have been prevented from registering as Labour supporters so they can vote for the next leader.

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