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Labour narrowly fights off Corbynista take over as effort launched to shackle Keir Starmer

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Sir Keir has maintained a working majority on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) following months of voting. Members elected nine candidates to represent local parties on the body as well as a disabled representative, youth representative, Welsh representative, two councillors and a treasurer.

Candidates backed by the left-wing socialist group Momentum, failed to overturn a majority on the NEC despite receiving the most support from members.

On Friday, it was confirmed loyal supporters of Jeremy Corbyn won seven out of the 15 seats on the Committee.

The “Grassroots Voice” candidates – who represent the left-wing of the party – won five seats.

Laura Pidcock, a former member of Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, was amongst those who was elected.

Ms Pidcock was seen by many within the left-wing of the party as a future leadership candidate, before losing her North West Durham seat at the general election in 2019.

Meanwhile, the ‘Labour to Win’ group – which consisted of candidates who want a clean break from the Corbyn era – won three positions in the NEC.

In a decisive moment for Sir Keir, its most influential candidate Luke Akehurst, won the most votes in the NEC overall.

Mr Akehurst runs Labour First, a group which aims to ensure the Labour Party is “kept safe from the organised hard left”.

Ann Black, who was backed by the “centre-left” Open Labour group, won the ninth seat.

Neither wing of the party gained a clear sweep of the seats following a change in the voting system.

The NEC switched away from the traditional “first past the post’ system to a more proportional method, with members ranking candidates in order of preference.

This prompted both sides of the party to claim they had been victorious.

Andrew Scattergood, co-chairman of Momentum, took aim at Sir Keir and claimed members had rejected “the anti-democratic crackdown implemented over the last few weeks by a factional group around the leadership.”

He added: “Keir Starmer has shown worrying signs of breaking with the values of party unity and socialist policy on which he was elected – this result should warn against that course of action.”

Meanwhile, an ally of Sir Keir insisted support for the “hard left” had fallen within the party.

They added: “For the first time Keir has a clear majority on the NEC.”

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The make-up of the NEC is likely to have a big impact on the future of Mr Corbyn within the party.

The ruling body will be pivotal in implementing changes from the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into anti-Semitism.

Mr Corbyn was suspended from Labour following his response to the findings from the EHRC.

It found Labour broke equality law during the tenure of Mr Corbyn.

The 71-year-old was suspended on October 29, pending an investigation, after he said the scale of Labour anti-Semitism had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

The former leader has said he will “strongly contest” the decision to suspend him and described it as a “political intervention”.

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