Jeremy Corbyn will remain on Labour's leadership election ballot after successfully fighting off a challenge in the High Court. A judge dismissed a case against Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) this afternoon (28 July), after the ruling body decided the left-winger would be automatically included in the race.

Michael Foster, a Labour donor, had unsuccessfully argued that Corbyn should have to receive 51 nominations from Labour MPs and MEPs to be included on the ballot. The court ruling will be a blow to anti-Corbyn activists and Owen Smith, the former shadow work and pensions secretary who is the sole challenger to the veteran parliamentarian.

"We are delighted that the court has upheld the authority and decision of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party," said Iain McNicol, general secretary of the Labour Party. "We will continue with the leadership election as agreed by the NEC."

The decision comes after 172 Labour MPs backed a motion of 'no confidence' against Corbyn in protest over his EU referendum performance and the decision to sack Hilary Benn as shadow foreign secretary. But the defiant left-winger, who attracted almost 60% of the vote at Labour's 2015 leadership election, has vowed to stay on as opposition leader.

"I welcome the decision by the High Court to respect the democracy of the Labour Party. This has been a waste of time and resources when our party should be focused on holding the government to account," said Corbyn.

"There should have been no question of the right of half a million Labour Party members to choose their own leader being overturned. If anything, the aim should be to expand the number of voters in this election.

"I hope all candidates and supporters will reject any attempt to prolong this process, and that we can now proceed with the election in a comradely and respectful manner."

Smith said he was the pleased the court had "done the right thing". The Pontypridd MP added: "This now puts to bed any questions about the process, so we can get on with discussing the issues that really matter.

"I'm getting on with the job of talking to Labour members and supporters, and am looking forward to debating with Jeremy as often as possible about our plans for Labour's future. I will take every opportunity to set out my ideas for a radical Labour Party that can replace failed Tory austerity with a plan for prosperity."

The key dates of the Labour leadership election

  • 18 July: Signing up as a registered supporter to vote in the election begins.
  • 19 - 20 July: Number of MP nominations for each candidate to be published.
  • 20 July: Deadline for people to sign up as a registered supporter closes.
  • 22 August: Ballot papers will begin to be sent out around the UK, but to Labour Party members only.
  • 21 September: Deadline for ballot papers to be returned is midday.
  • 24 September: The election result will be announced at a Leadership Conference in Liverpool.