Tony Benn after winning re-election in Bristol South East in 1961. Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

The Returning Officer: Benns

The 2010 candidature of Tony Benn’s granddaughter Emily in East Worthing and Shoreham raised the possibility the possibility of a fifth generation of Benns in parliament. Her great grandfather John Benn was elected as a Liberal in Wapping in 1892 and later for  Devonport. His son William Wedgewood Benn won John’s old Wapping seat in 1906 and went on to represent Leith as a Liberal and North Aberdeen and Manchester Gorton for Labour, losing at Dudley in between. Tony’s other grandfather Daniel Holmes was MP for Glasgow Govan during the First World War. But there have been Tory Benns too. William’s brother Ernest moved in the opposite direction to him, leaving the Liberals for the Tories and founding the Society for individual freedom. The unrelated Sir Arthur Shirley Benn sat for Plymouth Drake and Sheffield Park, with the Cork born Sir Ion Hamilton Benn representing Greenwich 1910 -1922.

Getty
Show Hide image

Jeremy Corbyn will stay on the Labour leadership ballot paper, judge rules

Labour donor Michael Foster had challenged the decision at the High Court.

The High Court has ruled that Jeremy Corbyn should be allowed to automatically run again for Labour leader after the decision of the party's National Executive Committee was challenged. 

Corbyn declared it a "waste of time" and an attempt to overturn the right of Labour members to choose their leader.

The decision ends the hope of some anti-Corbyn Labour members that he could be excluded from the contest altogether.

The legal challenge had been brought by Michael Foster, a Labour donor and former parliamentary candidate, who maintained he was simply seeking the views of experts.

But when the experts spoke, it was in Corbyn's favour. 

The ruling said: "Accordingly, the Judge accepted that the decision of the NEC was correct and that Mr Corbyn was entitled to be a candidate in the forthcoming election without the need for nominations."

This judgement was "wholly unaffected by political considerations", it added. 

Corbyn said: "I welcome the decision by the High Court to respect the democracy of the Labour Party.

"This has been a waste of time and resources when our party should be focused on holding the government to account.

"There should have been no question of the right of half a million Labour party members to choose their own leader being overturned. If anything, the aim should be to expand the number of voters in this election. I hope all candidates and supporters will reject any attempt to prolong this process, and that we can now proceed with the election in a comradely and respectful manner."

Iain McNicol, general secretary of the Labour Party, said: “We are delighted that the Court has upheld the authority and decision of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. 

“We will continue with the leadership election as agreed by the NEC."

If Corbyn had been excluded, he would have had to seek the nomination of 51 MPs, which would have been difficult since just 40 voted against the no confidence motion in him. He would therefore have been effectively excluded from running. 

Owen Smith, the candidate backed by rebel MPs, told the BBC earlier he believed Corbyn should stay on the ballot paper. 

He said after the judgement: “I’m pleased the court has done the right thing and ruled that Jeremy should be on the ballot. This now puts to bed any questions about the process, so we can get on with discussing the issues that really matter."

The news was greeted with celebration by Corbyn supporters.