London, July 13 (IANS) Incumbent Jeremy Corbyn is entitled to be on the ballot in the Labour Party leadership election, the National Executive Committee of Britain’s main opposition formation decided on Tuesday.
Corbyn’s opponents insisted that to be included on the ballot, he would need backing from at least 51 Labour Party members of the British Parliament or the European Parliament, EFE news agency reported.
By a margin of 18-14, the NEC found that party rules give Corbyn the right to automatic inclusion in the contest.
The veteran leftist won the leadership in a vote of the entire party membership just 10 months ago.
“The NEC has agreed that as the incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn will go forward onto the ballot without requiring nominations from the Parliamentary Labour Party and the European Parliamentary Labour Party,” a party spokesperson said.
“All other leadership candidates will require nominations from 20 percent of the PLP and EPLP,” the spokesperson added.
Angela Eagle, the former shadow business secretary, presented on Monday her candidacy for the leadership, supported by 51 nominations from PLP colleagues.
Though Corbyn won last year’s leadership election by a wide majority, many in the PLP bristled at the choice of the rank-and-file and have frequently clashed with the party leader.
Corbyn’s foes demanded his resignation following the unexpected victory of the Leave side in the June 23 referendum on remaining in the European Union.
On June 28, he lost a vote of confidence among Labour Party members of Parliament by 172-40.
“So I’m on the ballot paper… and we will be campaigning on all the things that matter. The inequality and poverty that exists in this country, the need to end the privatisation of our National Health Service, the need to give real hope and opportunity to young people all across this country,” Corbyn told supporters after Tuesday’s NEC meeting at Labour Party headquarters in London.
Corbyn, a long-time Euroskeptic, has been accused by his intra-party opponents of not campaigning vigorously enough for the Remain position ahead of the Brexit referendum.
Consistent with Labour’s traditional pro-EU stance, Corbyn urged a vote in favour of Remain while continuing to discuss what he viewed as shortcomings of the European bloc.