Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Our Friends in the North.Yet Another Twist; JUDGMENT IS SET TO RENEW LEADERSHIP HOSTILITIES

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Our Friends in the North.Yet Another Twist; JUDGMENT IS SET TO RENEW LEADERSHIP HOSTILITIES

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER

Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com @jonwalker121 LABOUR'S increasingly acrimonious leadership race took another twist as a court ruled that those who joined the party after January 12 will not be able to vote after all.

An appeal court endorsed a ruling by Labour's National Executive Committee which excluded an estimated 130,000 new party members from the contest.

And it overturned a previous High Court decision announced on Monday - which had said they should be allowed to vote after all.

The ruling was condemned by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's campaign team, which said it was "the wrong decision - both legally and democratically".

It could provide a boost for Mr Corbyn's challenger, former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith who clashed with Mr Corbyn during a heated hustings debate on Tyneside on Thursday night.

There has been speculation that newer Labour members were more likely to support Mr Corbyn while Mr Smith was more likely to gain support from longstanding activists.

The ruling means the party will not have to pay back the millions it raised through charging people disqualified from voting PS25 to re-register as supporters.

A panel of three judges said there was "express provision" in the rules that "the precise eligibility criteria shall be defined by the National Executive Committee".

They added: "The National Executive Committee has the power to set the criteria for members to be eligible to vote in the leadership election in the way it did."

Responding to the judgment, a spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "The Court's ruling disenfranchises nearly 130,000 Labour members, who joined the party since January and were explicitly told 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. …

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