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High Court Rules that New Labour Members Can Vote in the Leadership Election After All

It's a blow to the NEC, who tried to stop new members having a say in the next Labour leader.

by VICE Staff
08 August 2016, 10:55am

Labour leadership debate. Screengrab BBC

Hey remember when the Labour Party's National Executive Committee had a secret vote in which they decided that everyone who joined Labour in the past six months would be denied the right to vote in the forthcoming leadership election? That was dodgy wasn't it, especially for those 130,000 new members, most of whom had joined the party, and paid their money, precisely because they wanted to have a say in the new leader?

Well guess what! Turns out that bit of arbitrary electoral engineering wasn't just unfair, it was illegal. The high court has ruled that the Labour Party did not have the right to bar new members from voting in the leadership election. Justice Hickinbottom, yes that's his name, was ruling in a case brought forward by five recent Labour members who had all joined after January. He said they should be given ballot papers and have their £25 supporters fee – which they had paid on top of their membership fees in order to vote in the contest – refunded.

Labour is to appeal the ruling, with their case to be heard on Thursday. If they lose that appeal, it's likely that they'll have to allow every new member a vote in the forthcoming election, expanding the overall electorate by about a third. Many believe these new members will vote mostly for Corbyn, although that's mostly based on what happened in the last leadership election rather than any new polling.

So great news if you've recently joined the Labour Party. Although bad news if you recently joined the Labour Party then cancelled your membership and cut up your card in disgust after they didn't let you vote in the leadership election. You should have been more patient.

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