Labour’s ruling body has won its bid to overturn a high court decision allowing new party members to vote in the forthcoming leadership election, a ruling that could bar tens of thousands of pro-Corbyn supporters from voting in the ballot.
The ruling by three court of appeal judges, Lord Justice Beatson, Lady Justice Macur and Lord Justice Sales, will mean 130,000 new members who joined less than six months ago will not be able to vote in the forthcoming poll betweenJeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith for the Labour leadership.
Corbyn’s campaign quickly condemned the decision as wrong “both legally and democratically”, warning that it threatened to disenfranchise members who were explicitly told upon joining the party that they would have a vote in any leadership election.
“Crucial to the outcome today was the introduction of a new argument by the Labour party HQ’s lawyers, who invoked an obscure clause in the Labour party rules (chapter 4, clause II, 1A), which could be read as giving the NEC the right to ignore all of the rules laid out for leadership elections,” a campaign spokesman said.
“In other words, this is a ‘make it up as you go along’ rule. We do not think that making it up as you go along is a reasonable way to conduct democracy in our party.”