The form-writing blunder that could cost Labour’s NEC dearly

160725 Labour badges

Legal challenge comes as Labour says abusive behaviour will see members banned from voting. [Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images].

It is not unusual for an organisation to have a cut-off date for new members voting on internal matters, and Labour’s NEC could have avoided this legal action with a fairly simple line on its membership form.

Members are suing the NEC because of a line on the Labour website’s ‘join’ form that said, “You will be eligible to vote in leadership elections”.

This was what the site said on July 12, when the NEC ruled that only people who joined before January 12 could vote in this year’s election, and the decision means that everybody who joined in the six months between the two dates had been unilaterally disenfranchised, without any warning.

That is why the legal action has been launched.

And the line missing from the form, that could have prevented the litigation? After the word “elections”, add “if you joined more than six months before the date an election is called”.

It has been suggested that the disenfranchisement means Labour has taken £4.5 million in membership subscriptions illegally.

The lawsuit appears to be supported by Jeremy Corbyn, who was not at the NEC meeting when the decision was taken. It was not on the agenda and This Writer understands that he and two other NEC members, who support him, had left.

He told the Sunday Mirror: “I’m very concerned. We haven’t heard the end of this. A lot of people joined the party in the past six months and will be extremely annoyed. They joined because they want to be involved in the party and they’re not being allowed to.”

It seems that Mr Corbyn cannot be blamed for this latest example of a split in the Labour Party. It is something the ruling NEC caused all by itself.

Labour is being sued by a group of its members over the decision to exclude 130,000 people who joined the party since January from being able to vote in its leadership contest.

Harrison Grant, a London law firm, issued proceedings against Labour and its general secretary, Iain McNicol, on behalf of the members, who are crowdfunding to pay for their action.

In a statement, the group said: “We have called on the party to reconsider its decision, but it has not proven forthcoming. We believe the only way we can retrieve our rights is by taking the party to court.

“Harrison Grant Solicitors have issued proceedings on our behalf and we hope it will be heard very soon.”

Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) decided to allow only members who joined before 12 January to vote in the contest between Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s leader, and Owen Smith.

Anyone who joined afterwards can now only vote if they have paid £25 to be a registered supporter, or if they are registered through an affiliated union.

Source: Labour sued by members barred from leadership vote | Politics | The Guardian


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12 thoughts on “The form-writing blunder that could cost Labour’s NEC dearly

  1. hilary772013

    If they are successful, I wonder what will happen to the £25 we have had to pay surely they will have to refund it? I joined the party in June.

  2. jeffrey davies

    on one side we have the blairite supporters on the other we jc supporters its like little children at kindergaten arguing on whose in the driving seat hmmm between the 171 mps and the nec ut seems luke blairs arms are long and that any order isnt going to be of the day but greedie mps can be unelected when the times come around

  3. melanie

    with regards to your comment “Anyone who joined afterwards can now only vote if they have paid £25 to be a registered supporter,” this may not be the case. I am a new member and paid my £25. I recieved a confirmation of registration email and thought I could now vote. I checked my bank this morning and the money is back in my account. Am now wondering where that leaves me. Am I a registered supporter or not?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Thanks for getting in touch with this.
      I don’t know the answer to your question.
      Is there an email address for queries?

      1. melanie

        no email address or phone number, just this: Hello,

        Thank you for registering as a Labour Supporter, and paying your fee to participate in our selection process to choose Labour’s Leader.

        As soon as your application has been processed, we will contact you again to confirm your Registered Supporter status, and with further information about the timetable for the ballot and how you can cast your vote.


        Iain McNicol
        General Secretary of the Labour Party

        I joined as a member in june and feel Ive been lied to twice now. Makes me wonder how many other recent members this has happened to

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Mrs Mike, for one!
        I gather there isn’t any underhand behaviour going on. If your application is on the level, you should be fine – but it’s taking a little time to process everybody.

    2. theexplainerator

      Same thing happened to my daughter but she has now received a confirmation email. It seems that they are initially taking a kind of test payment to check that the funds are in there and then taking the actual payment later when they process it.

  4. dogpower

    The Labour Party should not have to pay it should be the NEC they have twisted and made this situation the fine should come out of there pockets

  5. Katherine Carver

    If people need to be members for 6 mths to vote, why is the cut off period 12 Jan and not 22 Feb (given that voting starts on 22 August) or even 21 March given deadline for voting is 21 September ?

Comments are closed.