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#JezWeCanAgain: Corbyn on the ballot automatically

After a tense few hours of Labour’s National Executive Committee meeting yesterday, the party’s ruling body decided by 18 votes to 14 that Jeremy Corbyn would have an automatic right to be on the ballot in the leadership election against Angela Eagle. It was the result that many, including some anti-Corbyn voices, had argued for, the result that most of the party’s legal advice supported, and the result that any common sense reading of the rulebook would dictate.

The meeting had started badly for the Corbynites, with the left losing a vote 17-15 by a show of hands on whether the final vote should be by a secret ballot. This was a relatively unprecedented move, with one former NEC member, Mark Seddon, pointing out he had never seen it in eight years on the committee. Andy Burnham and Debbie Abrahams, from the shadow cabinet, then arrived to suggest to the NEC that there should be a two day delay in the leadership election to allow for further negotiations, which was promptly accepted 20-12.

Corbyn then faced a further hurdle, as Paddy Lillis of USDAW, the NEC Chairman, proposed that as Corbyn had a conflict of interest, he would have to leave the room for the rest of the meeting. Corbyn then accepted this, but a couple of hours later Unite then proposed a vote that he should be allowed back in to vote, which they won, 16-15.

The final vote was held and Corbyn won 18-14. It is not yet clear who were on each side, due to the nature of the secret ballot, but Paul Waugh has already indicated it may not have been as clear cut as observers thought before, with Keith Vaz apparently stating his support for Corbyn. Naturally, many members will want to know how their representatives voted, having elected union reps, CLP reps, council reps and their youth rep, Jasmin Beckett, – who in particular had pledged in her election to support a move to keep Corbyn on the ballot, but indicated by putting out an online survey she would break her pledge.

In one final move of spite, once the meeting was drawing to a close, right-wingers on the NEC proposed a set of changes to the rules for the leadership election, imposing a cut-off date of January 12th (exactly six months) to freeze out over 130,000 new members, and raised the registered supporters fee to £25, pricing out many working class supporters of the party. It is ironic that in their mission to ‘Save Labour’, the party’s right is pricing out of its election many of those who it claims to represent.

Corbyn will now face Angela Eagle and, provided he can source his 51 nominations, Owen Smith, in a ballot of all members, registered supporters and affiliated supporters. According to a leaked timetable, the result will be on September 24th, with voting until September 21st. Affiliates have until August 8th to provide lists of their affiliated supporters.

As Left Futures currently understands, members who have been in the party since before January 12th, or registered supporters (including those from last summer), and any ‘affiliated supporter’, such as any member of a Labour-affiliated union who has opted into the political fund, can vote. We will publish a full timetable and guide on how to vote if you missed the cut-off, as soon as it is confirmed.

For now, there is celebration that the membership, or at least the majority of it, will have the right to decide who should lead our party – and that the PLP will be expected to accept the result.

20 Comments

  1. Robert Green says:

    Corbyn got on but only because the NEC want him to be seen to be defeated which they hope to achieve by disenfranchising the membership proving that the self-serving careerists and bureaucrats that control Labour do not see it as a vehicle for the mobilisation of the working class but as a their own private club and property.

  2. James Martin says:

    How can we have a situation where full members of the Party who joined earlier in the year and have been paying their subs for months are denied a vote, but anyone who is not a member but who is rich enough to afford £25 as a ‘supporter’ can still register and will be able to vote? Surely the cut off if there is one should be the same for everyone? Isn’t this open to a legal challenge or further NEC alteration on the basis that not only is it undemocratic but it is also mad?

    1. Matty says:

      I think we need some clarification. Surely, a recent member can sign up to be a supporter. Also, you can vote via an affiiate eg trade union but yes, the situation is strange to say the least.

      Very pleased though at the decision of the NEC. My stomach was in knots all afternoon, god knows what it was like in the meeting. Would have been wise to adjourn things after 8pm though. I don’t think that people could really have been thinking that straight. Also, hearing that all LP meetings are suspended for duration of campaign (unless they are for nominations or campaign planning eg by-elections) so what about pre-conference meetings?

      1. Matty says:

        Comment from New Statesman journo Stephen Bush:
        “Labour NEC suspends party meetings because of abuse fears. But not nomination meetings, cos those’ll be a barrel of laughs.”

        1. James Martin says:

          Turns out Luke Akehurst was behind the changes to the ballot arrangements – which of course explains completely why they are both undemocratic and mad at the same time.

          1. John P Reid says:

            How could Akehurst be behind them when he’s not on the NEC

          2. The Luke Akehurst comment is gossip. More worryingly for those who are concerned about Corbyn’s competence, though I expect him to win the ballot, is the New Statesman report that he left the meeting with votes still to be taken and that if he had remained a Unite amendment for a freeze date of June 24th would have passed. Is this true?

            There are major question marks about Corbyn’s political competence, particularly that he regularly reads out statements at decisive meetings including the SHadow Cabinet, which he then is unable to defend. Are these true? Since the leadership election last summer, when he was perfectly able to give as good as he got, I have not seen him under any real grilling. The media especially TV are currently not able to get him in their sights. In the next few weeks, though I cannot defend the rebels and their illjudged leadership contest, one feature of the process will be seeing Corbyn in dialogue with his critics. That rather than leaked reports from the NEC, will be the test of whether he can take on Theresa May rather than the failing David Cameron.

            Trevor FIsher.

  3. Robert Green says:

    Corbyn can win the next general election and here is the slogan that could win it for him:

    Peace, Jobs and Homes.

    Peace

    You do not have to be a pacifist to oppose Trident. Far from keeping us safe it makes us a target. It is the perfect sacrificial pawn in the event that America decided to give it large on the world stage once again. Put the money into other forms of defence and public services. A Labour government eschews the aggressive imperialism of the past period. We seek co-operation not competition. Co-development not plunder. We oppose illegal wars and subversion of governments but we do support workers in struggle against neo-colonial tyrannies and will do everything in our power to solidarise with and help them. We seek a New European Settlement to replace the collapsing EU with co-thinkers in other European nations and states that does not treat workers like migrating cattle or tethered donkeys. We want the nations of post-Brexit Britain to live in harmony and we therefore offer sovereignty to Scotland, England, Wales and N.Ireland and federation to replace the Westminster Union so that you can have the indpendence you desire without the chaos you fear.

    Jobs

    We will establish a regime of full-employment. Not a desire for full-employment to be bought about through some fiscal manipulation but an actual regime. Every school and college leaver and unemployed worker will be bought into the local workforce to share in the available productive work with each paid the minimum of a trades union living wage. We must take away the right of capital to maintain a reserve army of unemployed in penury and for use against organised labour and we must start the process of rapidly reducing the length of the working week so that the benefits of increased productivity accrues to the workers via shorter hours rather than to the super rich via job cuts and rationalisations. We must invest in a refit of our entire economy to make it modern and environmentally sustainable. Anti-union legislation must be repealed. The mega profits of the out-of-control monopoly corporations must be socialised and used to fund decent public services along with a fair and progressive system of taxation. We need workers’ democracy to replace the fat cat executive imposed by absentee shareholders and the Old School Tie network. Managers and leaders elected by the workforce and answerable to the democratically elected government. We must of course end the bail out of the bankrupt banks and bring their estates and workforces into state administration to form a People’s Bank with a monopoly of credit that can offer depositors a fair deal, lend at base rate to small business and facilitate social investment in accordance with a democratic and sustainable plan.

    Homes

    Vampire landlordism must be put an end to. Limits on rent and property holdings must be introduced. Brownfield sites need to be developed for social housing and the incredible waste and damage of commuting must be bought under control. Under-occupied homes must be shared and large working class estates modernised and humanised.

  4. Verity says:

    I would suggest that the advertised term of a contract, in the form of the chance to vote in the leadership contract, can only be constrained unreasonably if offering party becomes in breach of contract.

  5. Pete Willsman and Ann Black normally provide reports on NEC meetings, so I take this one with a pinch of salt. Unless the reporter can confirm that they were at the NEC meeting or have sources inside the meeting, the value of this is limited. Pete and Ann give their names and comment on what they saw. Eyewitness reports please.

    Trevor FIsher.

    1. John P Reid says:

      I agree ,disgraceful that Corbyns thugs reduced Jo Baxter to tears ,she’s not even part of labour first,

      1. John Penney says:

        The Labour Right seem to be constantly bursting into tears at the slightest opportunity. Eagle nearly burst into tears yesterday on stage at a rally on hearing Boris Johnson had become Foreign secretary FFS ! Are you prone to these sudden tearful moments too, John ?

        The moniker of “Thug” nowadays seems to be bestowed rather lightly. In the old days of political debate and activity it involved knuckle dusters and boots. For today’s Labour Right sensitive souls it involves having “vapours” after being subject to mild criticism !

        1. John P Reid says:

          No she didn’t she was laughing, take it you dint think we should be upset at being bullied

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            I find all this whining from the Red Tories quite pathetic and frankly quite fake. These are people who quite happily voted for an illegal war in which an estimated 150,000 people were killed, nearly 200 of them UK service personnel and the vast majority of victims were Iraqi civilians.

            But the same people who have no problem with this will also burst into floods of fake tears at the slightest mild political criticism.

            It’s pathetic and we shouldn’t have any patience with this nonsense.

            So a window in Angela Eagle’s empty office got broken a couple of nights ago, who’s to say it wasn’t just a bit of high spirits by some kids?

            Why is there no challenge to the ridiculous assumption by the BBC that somehow this was personally ordered by JC?

            And so JMac said “fuck” at an informal social evening? Do the Red Tories seriously expect anyone to believe they’ve never used the ‘F’ word in an informal context themselves?

          2. John Penney says:

            Nope , look at the video. It’s quite clear.
            She was definitely thrown completely off her prepared speech – and therefore at a loss what to say – and immediately on the verge of tears ,John. You’ve chosen a right one there to go up against Jeremy !

            Bullied”, “upset” . ….You poor little things have obviously led sheltered lives, John. I fear the battle to come will involve the deployment of dollops of satire and sarcasm too ! How you Labour Rightists will cope I just don’t know.

  6. Sal says:

    What about all those people who were encouraged to join to “save Labour”? They’ll be hit by the six month cut-off too!

  7. Karl Stewart says:

    Well done to all for ensuring Corbyn’s on the ballot.

    But the ‘freeze’ date is a disappointment – looks like our side mobilised and fought really well to win the main vote, but appear to have been caught napping over the cut-off date.

    A bit of a worry if this was down to carelessness by our side. Our enemies are totally ruthless and unscrupulous, and up against people like that, it’s vital to stay alert at all times.

    1. John Penney says:

      I wonder if the totally undemocratic (and contrary to the membership rights offered on the current Labour party recruitment website) “freeze” ruling is really that much of a problem for us ?

      I have always assumed that the recent 130,000 new member surge , on the Left side anyway, will just be the remaining “£3 ers” finally getting round to joining. So, IF , as is claimed earlier , the “£3 ers” up to January 12th are indeed still eligible to vote, I would have thought that most , or a substantial proportion anyway, of the Left cohort of the frozen out 130,000 will still get a vote ?

    2. Matty says:

      Tweet from FT journo Jim Pickard:
      “Here’s one fact you need to know to understand Corbyn leadership contest: 155,000 new members joined up between September 15 and January 16.”

  8. Robert Green says:

    The compromise candidate Owen Smith or Kinnock 2.0, the stepping stone to a new New Labour, offers a new divisive referendum to take us back into the bosses’ EU. That should guarantee Labour’s elimination as a force in the north of England and of course with Corbyn removed in London too.

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