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29 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn secures his first big victory of Labour party conference

The replacement of Community on the party's NEC is a major boost for the Labour leader.

By Stephen Bush

In a victory for Jeremy Corbyn, the moderate trade union Community has been defeated in elections to the party’s ruling NEC. Pauline McCarthy, of the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union, replaces Community’s representative.

The defeat is not a surprise to Community, who relied on the votes of the GMB and Unite to keep them in place, votes they were informed on Monday would not be forthcoming.

But the triumph of the bakers’ union is a signficant boost for Corbyn. Added to the replacement of Hilary Benn on the NEC with Rebecca Long-Bailey, a newly-elected MP and Corbyn ally, there is now a narrow pro-Corbyn majority on the NEC, making rule changes significantly easier and quicker to pass, requiring just one Conference as opposed to the usual two to be enacted.

Allies of the Islington North MP believe they may be able to use this majority to “futureproof” their control over the party, even if the Labour leader, who will be 71 by the time of the 2020 contest, should leave post before the election. The majority will also prove vital in deciding the composition of party shortlists at parliamentary selections and in other appointments in what will likely prove a significant boost for the left.

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