POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn Supporters Enjoy Clean Sweep In Election To Labour's Ruling Body

Momentum triumphs as Eddie Izzard's NEC bid fails.

08/08/2016 21:04 | Updated 09 August 2016
Rob Stothard via Getty Images

The left-wing takeover of the Labour Party continued as allies of Jeremy Corbyn seized more control of its ruling body.

Six Labour members backed by the pro-Corbyn pressure group, Momentum, have been elected to the National Executive Committee (NEC), the board which governs the Labour Party and has repeatedly clashed with Corbyn and his supporters.

None of the more centrist candidates - including stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard - succeeded in securing a berth as six seats elected by members came up for grabs.

The six new members are Ann Black, Christine Shawcroft, Claudia Webbe, Darren Williams, Rhea Wolfson, and Peter Willsman, and their election was welcomed by Momentum - instrumental in organising huge rallies backing Corbyn’s re-eleciton - and the Jeremy for PM group.

While Corbyn supporters already had a narrow majority, this cements his powerbase.

Among those who failed to get re-elected was Ellie Reeves, who was backed by the centre-left groups Labour First and Progress. She has sat on the NEC for ten years. The disappointment was palpable among Labour MPs critical of the Corbyn regime.

The 33-strong NEC includes the Labour leader, deputy leader, frontbenchers, trade union representatives, constituency party representatives, councillors and members of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

It decided whether Corbyn would automatically be on the Labour leadership election - he was, but it was controversial.

A spokesperson for the Jeremy for Labour campaign, said: 

“Our campaign would like to congratulate those new members to the Labour Party’s NEC, and thank those former members who have served our party, and also thank those members who stood unsuccessfully.

“This result clearly shows that there is a desire for real and genuine change in our party under the continued leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, but we are not going to take anything for granted and we will be campaigning for every vote in the leadership contest.” 

On Monday, the NEC decided to appeal a High Court decision ruling that 130,000 people who recently paid to join the Labour party should be allowed to cast a vote in the upcoming leadership election. Sources suggest around 60% are Corbyn supporters.

Edward Lear, one of the claimants, said on Tuesday he had felt “very sad and quite upset” about being excluded from the Labour selectorate.

A former Conservative voter and canvasser, Lear joined Labour after the EU referendum and said he would likely vote for Corbyn in the upcoming leadership vote. 

He told the Today programme: “The rules seem very clear: the way the NEC decided to try and change them retroactively seemed unjust. It was about upholding the rules of the Labour Party and upholding the ideals of a party I had recently joined and was so enthusiastic to support.”

He also described the NEC’s decision to appeal the ruling “madness” and said he and the other four claimant would be looking to raise thousands of pounds to foot the bill for further action.

“Before we had 1,700 people raise the best part of £30,000 in a matter of 2-to-3 days, which really is a testament to there being lots of other people who felt the same.”

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