James Forsyth

Victory for Corbyn as Labour’s NEC puts him on the ballot

Victory for Corbyn as Labour's NEC puts him on the ballot
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Jeremy Corbyn will be on the Labour leadership ballot. After a contentious meeting that lasted for almost six hours, the party’s National Executive Committee have ruled by 18-14 that as the incumbent his name will appear automatically on the ballot paper and so there is no need for him to gather nominations from MPs and MEPs.

This is a massive victory for Corbyn and his wing of the party. He is now favourite to win this leadership election and if he does, the 172 Labour MPs who voted no confidence in him will either have to shut up or split off and form their own party. Crucially, if they leave after Corbyn has won again, it will be Corbyn and the hard left who will be left in possession of the Labour name and the party apparatus. This will mean that any new party that Labour MPs form will face a huge challenge to make itself electorally competitive by 2020.

If Corbyn does defeat this leadership challenge—and considering he got almost 60 percent of the vote in a four candidate field less than a year ago he has to be favourite to, then Labour will cease to be a serious political force. It will have become a party of protest that is uninterested in the compromises with the electorate that are necessary to win office.