Rafael Behr joins the New Statesman

The current chief leader writer of the <em>Observer</em> will join the <em>New Statesman</em> as chi

We are delighted to announce that Rafael Behr is joining the New Statesman in June as chief political commentator. He is at present chief leader writer of the Observer and before that was at the Financial Times.

He will join an award-winning politics team, led by Mehdi Hasan, senior editor, politics; George Eaton (The Staggers rolling blog); and Jonathan Derbyshire, culture editor and our in-house political philosopher.

Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman, said: "This is an exciting period of expansion and development for both the New Statesman magazine and newstatesman.com. Rafael, who is a first-rate writer and journalist, will further strengthen the team. He will write a weekly Westminster column as well as essays and reports for the magazine, and contribute to The Staggers blog."

Rafael Behr said: "The Statesman is a great magazine, occupying a unique place in Britain's political and intellectual landscape. It is produced by an immensely talented team of journalists and I feel privileged to be joining them."

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Could Jeremy Corbyn still be excluded from the leadership race? The High Court will rule today

Labour donor Michael Foster has applied for a judgement. 

If you thought Labour's National Executive Committee's decision to let Jeremy Corbyn automatically run again for leader was the end of it, think again. 

Today, the High Court will decide whether the NEC made the right judgement - or if Corbyn should have been forced to seek nominations from 51 MPs, which would effectively block him from the ballot.

The legal challenge is brought by Michael Foster, a Labour donor and former parliamentary candidate. Corbyn is listed as one of the defendants.

Before the NEC decision, both Corbyn's team and the rebel MPs sought legal advice.

Foster has maintained he is simply seeking the views of experts. 

Nevertheless, he has clashed with Corbyn before. He heckled the Labour leader, whose party has been racked with anti-Semitism scandals, at a Labour Friends of Israel event in September 2015, where he demanded: "Say the word Israel."

But should the judge decide in favour of Foster, would the Labour leadership challenge really be over?

Dr Peter Catterall, a reader in history at Westminster University and a specialist in opposition studies, doesn't think so. He said: "The Labour party is a private institution, so unless they are actually breaking the law, it seems to me it is about how you interpret the rules of the party."

Corbyn's bid to be personally mentioned on the ballot paper was a smart move, he said, and the High Court's decision is unlikely to heal wounds.

 "You have to ask yourself, what is the point of doing this? What does success look like?" he said. "Will it simply reinforce the idea that Mr Corbyn is being made a martyr by people who are out to get him?"