New members of Britain's Labour party win court battle

Five new members of Britain's Labour party on Monday won a High Court battle for their right to vote in Labour's upcoming leadership contest.

The party is due to begin electing a new leader later this month, with parliamentarian Owen Smith challenging incumbent Jeremy Corbyn.

The new members had accused the party's National Executive Committee of "freezing" them out of voting by requiring them to have had six months of continuous membership through July 12.

That was despite the party having given members the chance to pay 25 pounds (33 dollars) between July 18-20 and become "registered supporters" with the right to vote.

Judge Gary Hickinbottom ruled that refusing the five the right to vote "would be unlawful as in breach of contract."

The ruling could give as many as 130,000 Labour supporters the chance to vote in the contest.

The party is embroiled in a bitter internal battle over the leadership, with many parliamentarians keen to get rid of Corbyn, who they blame for a half-hearted "remain" campaign in Britain's referendum on European Union membership.

But Corbyn, a veteran of the Labour left who was the surprise victor in last year's leadership contest, has widespread support among Labour party members.

It's thought that Monday's ruling, which Labour is expected to appeal this week, could be to Corbyn's benefit.

A final result from the contest is due to be announced on September 24.

Last update: Mon, 08/08/2016 - 14:00

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