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High Court rules new members must have votes while left sweeps NEC elections

Inside Labour NEC electionsIn a momentous day for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Left, the High court ruled that 126,000 new members have a legal right to vote in the leadership election, just hours before the NEC elections delivered six Momentum and CLGA-backed candidates to fill the six CLP seats on Labour’s ruling body.

The court ruling, delivered by Justice Hickinbottom, was made in favour of five new party members who argued their denial of a right to vote was a breach of contract, as membership had been advertised on the party website as giving people a vote in subsequent leadership elections. A six-month freeze date had been set for January 12, preventing members of less than six months, from voting, by the NEC. 

A right-wing majority on the NEC had introduced the rule, along with raising the fee for registered supporters to £25, in order to make a leadership challenge to Corbyn more difficult. A right-wing source had told New Statesman political editor George Eaton that, “it’s game on”, whereas following the High Court’s ruling yesterday, an unnamed Labour MP told the Guardian, “This is very, very, very bad news”, fearing that it meant Corbyn would certainly win the second leadership contest.

This has meant that since the referendum on June 23rd, Corbyn has had to overcome a swathe of resignations designed to force him out without a leadership contest, manoeuvres by the right on NEC to keep him off the ballot altogether, a legal challenger by a millionaire donor to overturn his right to be on the ballot, and a set of antidemocratic measures designed to prevent new members and young, or working class supporters from signing up to join. Corbyn has overcome every one of them, and in all likelihood will now go on to win the leadership election, possibly with a bigger majority than last time.

The role of the party establishment and NEC in producing obstacles for Corbyn makes the second piece of news from yesterday even more significant. The Centre Left Grassroots Alliance, a group of six candidates supported by Momentum and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, among other Labour Left organisations, swept to victory to claim six out of six seats on the NEC, an improvement from the four out of six the left achieved in 2014. Ann Black, Christine Shawcroft, Darren Williams, Rhea Wolfson and Peter Willsman were all elected, with the full set of results as follows:

National Executive Committee – Division III (Constituency Labour Parties) result (6 to elect)

BLACK, Ann 100,999 Elected
SHAWCROFT, Christine 97,510 Elected
WEBBE, Claudia 92,377 Elected
WILLIAMS, Darren 87,003 Elected
WOLFSON, Rhea 85,687 Elected
WILLSMAN, Peter 81,863 Elected
REEVES, Ellie 72,514
IZZARD, Eddie 70,993
BAILEY, Bex 67,205
BAXTER, Johanna 60,367
DHANDA, Parmjit 53,838
AKEHURST, Luke 48,632
WHEELER, Peter 44,062
GALLAGHER, John 22,678
GUL, Amanat 14,693


  1. jeffrey davies says:

    owen who

  2. David Pavett says:

    Good news. I was delighted to see Luke Akehurst so far down the list.

  3. Danny Nicol says:

    Splendid news.

    I hope the Left members test the limits of the new NEC by pressing it to put a rule change before Conference introducing mandatory reselection.

  4. P SPENCE says:

    Akehurst’s 48,000 probably represents the Right’s core vote. Smith I predict will be lucky to get much more than 100,000 votes, and Corbyn probably not less than double that ( assuming about 300k vote).

    1. Charlie Mansell says:

      I think your numbers are far too low. There are over 700,000 people likely to have a vote in the leadership election. The 54-42% NEC result (it was at least a 23% sample of those who will vote in the leadership ballot in 2 weeks) and the 65-35% nomination meetings give us an indicator and the result may be in between those vote shares. As a result we could actually see something like 58-42% with JC on 365,000 votes and OS on 265,000 votes. Thus JC goes up 115,000 but his percentage may drop a little or stay the same and OS gets 94,000 more votes than AB/YC/LK combined did

      1. Richard Tiffin says:

        I get your analysis, but I disagree.

        NEC elections are not the same as the leadership election in terms of turnout. I would expect a much higher turnout for the ‘main event’ as it were.

        That assumption being correct let’s ask ourselves about those who joined after Corbyn won the vote of 49% of members. Between September and May the Party doubled in size, many believe that most joined because of and for Corbyn. Why would have to assume 40% joined to oppose him. Then there was the post Brexit surge that tripled the membership compared to September, why would we assume 40% were oppossed to Corbyn?

        There will be confusion over the 183,000 affiliates as many may prove to be those who believed they had been denied a vote, but once again, we have to ask why those folk joined? Was #SavingLabour successful? Looking at Smith’s support at rally’s and the hustings I am guessing that saving labour didn’t recruit too well.

        Finally there are the union affiliates. We might have some indication of opinions after the GMB and Unite finish their consultation, but they are clearly leaning in Corbyn’s direction at the top, and the majority of the other Unions are for Corbyn.

        I think, therfore, that the percentage of members who will vote Corbyn will have increased, perhaps even significantly. In fact, if the Labour Party lose in court as expected on Thursday it may be that Smith gives up, after all, if the right are contemplating a split, and the right have the same thoughts in terms of numbers that I do, then they won’t want him destroyed for it will be difficult to argue that the Party is seriously divided if Corbyn looks like he might get a very high percentage of the vote.

  5. Tony says:

    Good to see Mike Gapes MP on Channel 4 complaining about the result of the court case.
    And then John McTernan on Newsnight.

    It is interesting that McTrident gets so many interviews seeing that he does not hold, and has never held, any elected office at all.

    1. Tim Barlow says:

      Neither have Campbell or Mandelson, but that doesn’t seem to matter much to the BBC!

      I think in McLaughingboy’s case, it’s his abundant wit, warmth and charisma that makes him so in demand. (Has anyone actually ever seen him laugh?)

  6. Historyintime says:

    So the Left have about 60% of member support and the Right about 40%.

    But the Left have at best (including some soft support) about 20% of MPs.

    That needs to get to at least 30% at the next election ie 20 deselected MPs or Left replacements of retiring Right wingers.

    But going beyond that would really heighten the risk of a split. And despite the fantasies of some, winning the next election will be bloody difficult even without a split.

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