Exclusive: Miliband's donation cap will be £5,000

A Labour source says the party's proposed cap on donations from all sources will be set at the lower level of £5,000, not £10,000.

One notable omission from Ed Miliband's speech yesterday was any indication of what level he believes a donation cap should be set at. Miliband had previously used a figure of £5,000 but yesterday a figure of £10,000 was being widely quoted. However, I'm now told by a source close to the Labour leader that the proposed cap will indeed be £5,000. 

The cap would apply to donations from individuals, businesses and, crucially, trade unions. One criticism made of Miliband's plans by the FT's Jim Pickard (and swiftly picked up by the Tories) is that they would actually hand more power and influence to the union general secretaries. While members will have to opt-in to contribute to Labour, they will still automatically pay the political levy, which funds unions' campaigning activites and large one-off donations to Labour at election time. The charge made by the Tories is that Labour could make up for the short-fall in funding caused by the introduction of an opt-in system (the party expects to lose around £5m of the £8m it currently receives in affiliation fees) by simply receiving more in large donations from union leaders. But this ignores Miliband's pledge that any cap will also affect them. 

Despite this promise, and Labour's decision to abandon its opposition to an opt-in system (a major stumbling block in previous negotiations), a deal on party funding still seems unlikely before the election. The Tories and the Lib Dems are demanding that union members should also be required to opt-in to the political levy, a reform that would require a change in the law and that Miliband has ruled out. In response, of course, he will able to frame the Tories' opposition to a low cap on donations as entirely self-interested. As he writes in today's Daily Mirror, "When we had a problem in one of our constituencies, we acted swiftly and thoroughly. A year ago David Cameron faced the dinners for donors scandal where wealthy Tory backers were given access to Downing Street in return for huge sums. He still has done nothing about this. His party still relies on getting half its money from the bankers and the City. We cannot go on like this."

Ed Miliband with Labour's PPC for Birmingham and Yardley Jess Phillips before his speech at The St Bride Foundation in London yesterday. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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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?"