Corbyn team brands Labour leadership poll appeal ruling 'wrong decision'

Cheryl Sanders
August 13, 2016

Labour's ruling body has won its bid to overturn a High Court decision paving the way for new party members to vote in the forthcoming leadership election.

It was decided that Labour's ruling body was allowed to effectively bar recent joiners by deciding that only members who had been in the party for at least six months could vote.

Labour NEC chair Paddy Lillis said: "It was right that the Party appealed the judgement on the freeze date, just as we would have appealed if the Court in the previous case did not uphold the NEC decision that the incumbent leader of the Labour Party did not require nominations".

It comes after the High Court on Monday ruled the ban on those who signed up after 12 January was unlawful.

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However Corbyn's leadership campaign blasted the ruling.

Angry Labour members are expressing their frustration on Twitter, with some targeting Labour's Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who sits on the NEC procedures committee.

In reality, the decision will make little difference to Corbyn's chances of winning the leadership contest.

He said in an interview: "If the result of this High Court litigation is that it's the courts who decide the detail of how an election is going to be fought, then there are going to be even more High Court hearings because everybody who doesn't like a ruling of the NEC is going to go to the High Court". But the Judges have denied permission for the claimants to take the case to the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal has allowed the attempt by party officials to reinstate a block imposed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) on tens of thousands of recruits getting the vote. The Party has said consistently throughout this process that we would defend vigorously the decisions of the NEC.

We think that this is the wrong decision - both legally and democratically.

The ruling means that the party will not have to pay back the millions it raised through charging people disqualified from voting £25 to re-register as supporters.

"It's a really important issue as to whether or not the NEC have the power to determine whether you need to be a member for a certain specified period of time before you can participate in the leadership election because it won't just affect this election, it will affect any subsequent leadership election. It was the correct decision to seek clarification on this fundamental principle in the Court of Appeal".

The source said: "They sanctioned the freeze date, and they chose to spend members' money on trying to stop their own members voting".

He argued that the NEC was the "ultimate arbiter as to the meaning of the rules" and not the courts.

But Mr Corbyn defended his record and said the party should work together to take on the Tories.

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