Labour’s ruling body is challenging a high court decision allowing new party members to vote in the forthcoming leadership election. The decision was an apparent boost to Jeremy Corbyn in his battle to remain as Labour leader, because most new members are expected to support him in the contest against his rival, Owen Smith. Party officials are going to the court of appeal on Thursday in an attempt to reinstate a block imposed by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on 130,000 recruits getting the vote. The NEC decided that full members would not be able to vote if they had not had at least six months’ continuous membership up to 12 July.
Five new members challenged the move and accused the NEC of unlawfully freezing them out of the leadership contest despite them having “paid their dues”.
Mr Justice Hickinbottom, sitting in London, declared on Monday that refusing them the right to vote would amount to a breach of contract.
Party officials say they are appealing to defend the NEC’s right to uphold Labour’s rules. The case will be heard by Lord Justice Beatson, sitting with Lady Justice Macur and Lord Justice Sales.