High Court dismisses Jewish Labour donor's Corbyn leadership challenge


An attempt by a Jewish Labour donor and former party candidate to prevent the automatic placement of Jeremy Corbyn on the party's upcoming leadership ballot has failed.

Michael Foster, who has donated more than £400,000 to the Labour party since 2010, launched a High Court action to overturn the ruling from Labour’s National Executive Committee earlier this month.

He had argued that “none of the people in the room were unbiased”, and that “the advice that was taken was certainly not given the expert consideration that it would receive from a High Court judge".

However, the High Court ruled today that the decision to put Mr Corbyn on the ballot without him having to gain the support of 20 per cent of Labour’s MPs and MEPs was valid.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Foskett said it was "not for the court to try to re-write the rules to provide a solution".

He concluded: "I am satisfied that the NEC also reached the correct legal conclusion... They were right to conclude that Mr Corbyn was entitled to be on the ballot paper without the need to obtain any level of nominations."

Mr Foster is not expected to appeal and was ordered to pay the costs of both the Labour Party and Mr Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn welcomed the court's ruling and said the legal challenge had been a "waste of time and resources".

Iain McNicol, Labour's General Secretary, said: “We are delighted that the Court has upheld the authority and decision of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party.

“We will continue with the leadership election as agreed by the NEC.”

Earlier today Owen Smith, Mr Corbyn’s rival in the leadership race, stated his opposition to the legal action, saying that “it was the right decision by the NEC to put [Mr Corbyn] on the ballot”, and that “the mood in the party would be really angry if a judge interfered and made sure that Jeremy wasn’t on the ballot".

Meanwhile, last night, Jewish Labour Movement candidate Peter Mason was elected to the party's National Constitution Committee (NCC).

The NCC has responsibility for party disciplinary hearings and will hear Ken Livingstone's case following his suspension.

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