Labour’s third major court hearing in weeks will today see an appeal to the earlier decision to allow new members a vote even though they joined after the January 12 cut-off date.
Party officials said they are looking to “uphold” the decisions of its ruling body, the NEC. Some have called this a waste of members’ money on more legal fees, but former frontbencher Lord Falconer defended the appeal saying not to do so would encourage anyone who disagrees with the NEC in the future to go to the High Court.
The original ruling, made earlier this week, has prompted Kate Green to write to the party to demand the contest be extended. Smith’s campaign chair sets out a timeline of an extra two weeks for the competition in order to involve those who were previously told they couldn’t vote.
While the recent sign-ups are considered more likely to be more pro-Corbyn, an extension could give more time for Smith to cut through to members who joined in the wake of the EU referendum.
As the campaign goes on, both candidates are reaching out to members in their own ways – Corbyn through large participatory rallies, Smith through policy-heavy speeches and events. However, they may be able to reach more through gaining the support of trade unions, which can give legitimacy and impetus to a campaign.
Unison’s nomination in the contest is expected later today. Like the GMB, it balloted its members to decide who to back. GMB announced it was nominating Smith yesterday, but issued a stark warning that its members “cannot afford for Labour to be talking to itself in a bubble” and must unite after the leadership contest.
While it was a boost for Smith’s campaign, Corbyn also had a win when Unite confirmed their support of the leader. The largest union in the UK has backed the incumbent after he won the support of their policy conference only three weeks ago.
The union vote could have a huge impact in the contest – roughly 70,000 are rumoured to have signed up using the affiliated vote scheme. Saving Labour claims they’ve recruited 50,000 of these, which could give Smith a fighting chance in the contest.
Elsewhere, Tom Watson, who has attracted criticism earlier this week for saying some Trotskyists were infilitrating the party, has presented a dossier to Jeremy Corbyn which provides evidence of entryism from the far left. He claims some are using guidelines from Militant, the revolutionary socialist group who tried to take over the party in the 80s, designed to make local meetings unpleasant and exclude people that disagree with them.
from Labour List Aug 11th 2016