Jeremy Corbyn to be included on Labour leadership ballot
JEREMY Corbyn will automatically be included on the ballot in Labour's leadership contest following a vote by the ruling National Executive Committee.
The secret vote went 18-14 in the opposition leader's favour following hours of talks at the party's headquarters in central London on Tuesday.
A party spokesman said: "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.
"All other leadership candidates will require nominations from 20 per cent of the PLP and EPLP."
The ruling will come as a major blow to the majority of Labour's MPs who are desperate to overthrow the party leader.
NEC members wrestled with legal advice over whether Mr Corbyn would need to secure 51 nominations to make it onto the ballot after both sides insisted Labour's rulebook backed their case.
Without automatic inclusion in the race he would almost certainly have been unable to defend his position.
The result makes the leadership bid by former shadow business secretary Angela Eagle far more challenging as she faces a major battle to overturn his overwhelming backing among party supporters.
On Monday night Ms Eagle said: "I'm glad Labour's NEC has come to a decision. I welcome the contest ahead. And I am determined to win it."
Earlier she called on Mr Corbyn to "get control" of his supporters after a brick was thrown through the window of her constituency party office.
Ms Eagle said the Labour leader needed to put a stop to the "bullying" as she was forced to re-arrange a campaign event after the manager of the hotel in Luton where she was supposed to be speaking was threatened.
Mr Corbyn issued a statement calling for calm, urging party members to treat each other with "respect and dignity" insisting that there was no place for violence in politics.
However Ms Eagle said Mr Corbyn needed to do more to stop the acts of violence and abuse.
"They are being done in his name and he needs to get control of the people who are supporting him and makes certain that this behaviour stops and stops now," she told the BBC.
"It is bullying, it has absolutely no place in politics in the UK and it needs to end."
In a statement, Mr Corbyn said the incident was "extremely concerning" and that he had also been subjected to threats.
"As someone who has also received death threats this week and previously, I am calling on all Labour Party members and supporters to act with calm and treat each other with respect and dignity, even where there is disagreement," he said.
"I utterly condemn any violence or threats, which undermine the democracy within our party and have no place in our politics."
The incident follows repeated complaints by Labour MPs - particularly women - that they have been subjected to threats and abuse from Mr Corbyn's supporters if they speak out against the party leader.
Ms Eagle faces strong opposition from some within her local party over her decision to challenge Mr Corbyn. The party has previously called on her to back the leader and she could now face moves to de-select her, preventing her from standing for the party at the next general election.
There were shouts of "traitor" and "Judas" from some people walking past the office following the incident.