Jeremy Corbyn loses first round of his court battle with Labour chiefs over his suspension in anti-Semitism row
- Jeremy Corbyn may sue after his suspension from Parliamentary Labour Party
- Ex-Labour leader is now sitting as an independent but wants to be reinstated
- Judge refused his bid for Labour Party documents relating to be disclosed
Jeremy Corbyn yesterday lost the first round of his High Court battle against Labour for suspending the whip from him – and now faces paying the party’s legal costs.
The former Labour leader is considering suing after he was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party for claiming anti-Semitism allegations were ‘dramatically overstated’.
He is currently sitting as an independent but wants to be reinstated.
However, a judge yesterday refused Mr Corbyn’s bid for Labour Party documents relating to his suspension to be disclosed.
Jeremy Corbyn yesterday lost the first round of his High Court battle against Labour for suspending the whip from him – and now faces paying the party’s legal costs
It is understood he believes they could reveal that meddling by opponents was behind his suspension .
Labour responded to yesterday’s ruling by saying it was ‘regrettable’ that the court’s time and party members’ money was spent on the issue, adding that it will seek to recover its costs.
Mr Corbyn was suspended in October for his comments on anti-Semitism in Labour which came less than an hour after the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a report on the problem.
His lawyers have told the High Court that his suspension was unlawful.
In November he issued a ‘public statement of clarification’, saying concerns about anti-Semitism were ‘neither “exaggerated” nor “overstated”’.
Mr Corbyn was suspended from Labour in October for claiming that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’, but was reinstated weeks later. However, his successor Sir Keir Starmer blocked him from sitting as a Labour MP
After a meeting of the disputes panel of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) the same day, Mr Corbyn was issued with a formal warning and his suspension was lifted. But the following day, he was told he could not sit as a Labour MP.
Earlier this month, Mr Corbyn’s lawyer Christopher Jacobs told the High Court that his suspension was unlawful and in breach of contract.
Mr Jacobs claimed that Labour ‘went behind an agreement’ to reinstate Mr Corbyn to the party ‘at all levels’ as a result of ‘political interference’.
He added that the MP needed ‘pre-action disclosure’ ahead of his ‘anticipated claim’ against the party.
His lawyers requested the minutes of a meeting at which Mr Corbyn claims the party agreed to reinstate him ‘at all levels’.
They also asked for any communications between Mr Corbyn’s successor as Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, and fellow Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge or Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
But Judge Lisa Sullivan yesterday afternoon dismissed the former Labour leader’s application, saying: ‘Mr Corbyn has sufficient material to make a decision on the merits of his case.’
A Labour spokesman said: ‘We welcome the court’s decision. The Labour Party has always acted in line with our rules and procedures.
‘It is regrettable that the court’s time and our members’ money was spent on this matter. We look forward to drawing a line under this matter and uniting our party ahead of a vital set of elections.’
The spokesman confirmed that Labour Party will be seeking ‘to recover its costs from Jeremy Corbyn for the legal expenses that it has incurred as a result of this application’.
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