JEREMY Corbyn’s allies in Scotland insist it is “wrong in principle” for some Labour Party members to be barred from voting in the leadership contest, ahead of a strategy meeting this weekend.
Neil Findlay, the left-wing MSP who ran Mr Corbyn’s first leadership campaign in Scotland, will convene a meeting of grassroots supporters in Glasgow on July 17 to prepare their campaign to fight the leadership challenge sparked by a vote of no confidence by 172 Labour MPs.
Their first task will be to try and ensure every Labour member gets a vote, with Mr Findlay insisting recent moves to potentially disenfranchise more than 100,000 new members were bound to “backfire”.
Mr Findlay said: “Jeremy won last year because he put forward a new vision for Labour and for society, a clear alternative to a broken political system, real change, not just managerialism.
“This is going to be a battle of ideas. The proposals Jeremy has put forward in the last year - successfully defending tax credits and disabled benefits, rejecting austerity and war, have seen our party grow to record levels of membership.
“One of the first tasks of our campaign will be to try and ensure that every party member gets the vote that they were promised. It’s wrong in principle, and will backfire in practice, to try and escape political difficulties through bureaucratic prescriptions.
“This Sunday will be primarily about getting the basic plans down for the campaign over the summer but we will have some speakers and they will put out some challenges we hope that, for the good of the Labour Party, Jeremy’s opponents would sign up to: a promise to abide by the result and to serve in Jeremy’s team if asked, for example.”
Labour’s National Executive Committee has decided that members who joined after January 12 this year will not automatically be eligible to vote in the leadership election.
However, they have a two-day window from July 18 to apply for a vote as a registered supporter, but the cost has risen from £3 previously to £25.
It is understood that those wishing to negate the supporters fee are now considering exploiting other avenues as they look to secure their vote, such as registering for affiliated unions.
Meanwhile, Labour donor Michael Foster is going to the courts over the party’s decision to guarantee Mr Corbyn a place on the leadership ballot.
The former parliamentary candidate is lodging an application with the High Court in a bid to overturn the ruling made by the NEC.
Labour faces a summer of bruising clashes which threaten to split the party in two after the NEC said the leader should automatically be included in the contest.
NEC members wrestled with legal advice for six hours over whether the Mr Corbyn would need to secure 51 nominations to make it on to the ballot paper after both sides insisted the party rulebook backed their case.