Labour leadership: Legal action against Corbyn ballot vote


A authorized challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s right to automatically stand in the Labour supervision has been heard at the High Court in London, with a decision keep in viewed to be handed down on Thursday.

Donor and former candidate Michael Nourish is contesting Labour’s decision to allow Mr Corbyn on to the ballot per without rtici te in to secure nominations from 50 other MPs and MEPs.

Labour’s Country-wide Executive Committee backed the move by 18 to 14 votes.

Mr Corbyn is entrancing on Owen Smith.

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As a challenger, Mr Smith, a former work and pensions spokesman, had to win the assistance of 20% of Labour’s MPs and MEPs to be eligible to stand – a hurdle he overcame handily.

But the NEC’s decision that, as the incumbent, Mr Corbyn did not have to adhere to the same provisoes has proved controversial.

The NEC backed Mr Corbyn’s automatic inclusion following a much charged meeting earlier this month. Labour’s ruling cadaver, of which Mr Corbyn is a member, is reported to have taken a range of forensic opinions before making its decision.

Mr Foster, who unsuccessfully stood in the establish of Camborne and Redruth at the last general election, has expressed concerns wide “ap rent manipulation” of the rty’s rules and questioned whether the legal recommendation was given proper consideration.


Lawyers for Mr Foster told the Important Court on Tuesday that Labour and Mr Corbyn made a “very disputable interpretation” of the rty’s rules.

Gavin Millar QC said there was no concept of “official” or “incumbency” in the rty rules. “There is no distinction in the rules between the captain candidate to be automatically on the ballot per or the challenger candidate,” he said.

Mr Millar bid: “There’s nothing whatsoever unfair to a leader to expect him or her to gather or arrange a minimum level of support in the combined group [of Labour MPs and MEPs] if the chairperson wants to stand again in the teeth of the challenge.

“It goes with the job thumbnail sketch to maintain that minimum level of support in the PLP ( rliamentary Labour Seconder).”

Appearing for Labour’s NEC, Mark Henderson said precedent suggested courts were chary of intervening in voluntary unincorporated associations such as the Labour rty except where their rules be suffering with “incoherence”.

He said the rules were “not ambiguous nor open to serious apprehension”, and that there was no “custom, precedent nor practice” which suggested Mr Corbyn should be close from automatically going forward to a ballot of members.

Analysis by BBC bureaucratic correspondent Iain Watson

The court case has huge implications for Harp on.

Its ruling body – the National Executive Committee – put Jeremy Corbyn automatically on the directorship ballot but Michael Foster believes the rty leader should must to seek the same number of nominations from MPs as his challenger.

That effectiveness be difficult for Mr Corbyn to achieve so if he loses the court case he could potentially suffer defeat his job too.

Mr Foster’s QC argued there was no concept of incumbency in Labour’s rules or anything which in relations was designed to give an incumbent leader an advantage and that all candidates should be treated in an even-handed way. In other facts, that Mr Corbyn should not be exempt from seeking nominations from his ally MPs.

But counsel for Labour’s general secretary argued that the courts should be observant of intervening in the affairs of a major political rty and that the intention of the settles was not to exclude the democratically elected leader from the ballot if challenged

Martin Westgate, the QC pretending Mr Corbyn, said the rules as they stood existed to prevent Overdo MPs choosing the leader without a ballot of rty members and supporters.

Any trade, he said, would be a “major, substantial shift”, arguing the judge had no common sense to “disturb” the current rules unless they were unreasonable.

At the end of the consent, the judge, Mr Justice Foskett, said that he hoped to hand down his judgment on Thursday, when he devise also consider any application for permission to appeal.

The outcome of the leadership vote is due to be announced on 24 September.

It emerged on Monday that Labour is surface legal action from people who have joined the rty since the EU referendum after the NEC indisputable that only those who signed up on or before 12 January could automatically sponsor.

Solicitors Harrison Grant said they had issued proceedings against the Strain rty “on behalf of a number of new members who have been denied the moment to vote in the forthcoming leadership election”.

More-recent joiners were prone the opportunity to vote by becoming registered supporters at a cost of £25 each.

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