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Labour Five reluctantly end legal battle to secure vote

LABOUR members who went to court for the right to vote in the party’s leadership contest announced yesterday that they are reluctantly ending their legal battle.

Their decision follows the Court of Appeal ruling on Friday that the party’s national executive committee (NEC) was within its rights to ban 130,000 members who joined after January 12 from voting.

The five members — Christine Evangelou, Edward Leir, Hannah Fordham, Chris Granger and an unnamed teenage member — paid their court costs with money received in public donations.

More than 5,800 people had given to an online fund by yesterday afternoon, raising over £93,500.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers had successfully argued in the High Court last week that the “freeze date” imposed by the NEC was a breach of contract.

After that decision was overturned on Friday by a judge with close links to Tony Blair, many activists poured cash into the fund in the hope that the group would take the case to the Supreme Court tomorrow.

In a statement on behalf of the group, Ms Fordham wrote: “This has been an odd, emotional rollercoaster of a week for us all.

“Thank you for supporting us through this. It’s been a huge help to see how many of you care deeply about this unfair and unjust situation.”

But Ms Fordham added: “Unfortunately, given the costs involved in pursuing the case further [the fee for getting the case even heard at the Supreme Court is around £8,000], we have taken the decision that this is where this particular legal case has to stop.”

The money raised will cover the £80,000 bill they were ordered to pay on Friday, along with their personal legal fees.

All five said they would remain in the party and fight to make it more democratic.

A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign praised the “extraordinary efforts” of the five members and their supporters.

“The strength of solidarity shown to the five claimants campaigning for the democratic rights of their fellow Labour Party members has been truly remarkable,” they said.

“It is clear that there exists huge amount of support for Jeremy’s vision of a democratic Labour Party that is open and inclusive for all, so that we can achieve a Labour government that can transform and rebuild Britain so that nowhere and no-one is left behind.”


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