Britain’s Labour Party will appeal against a High Court ruling which said new party members should have the right to vote in its leadership election.
Judges ruled in favour of five supporters who accused the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) of unlawfully “freezing” them out, even though they had “paid their dues”, when it decided that full members would not be able to vote unless they had six months’ continuous membership up to July 12.
Party officials said Labour would mount a legal challenge to “defend the NEC’s right” to uphold its rules.
A Labour spokesman said: “The Procedures Committee of the NEC has decided that the Labour Party will appeal this ruling in order to defend the NEC’s right, as Labour’s governing body, to uphold the rule book, including the use of freeze dates”.
The leadership race was plunged into chaos by the court ruling and members of Labour’s procedures committee discussed how to respond in a hastily arranged conference call.
Labour was given permission to go to the Court of Appeal but Jeremy Corbyn’s allies had urged the party not to pursue the option, claiming members’ money was being squandered on stopping them from voting.
General secretary Iain McNicol faces being ousted if the party loses its legal bid.
A senior party source said: “If Labour loses the appeal, the position of Iain McNicol becomes untenable.”
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