‘They took longer to throw out the man who threatened to kill me’: MP’s outrage as Jeremy Corbyn axes former spin doctor within days of him voting Lib Dem while anti-Semitism was left to fester for years
- Former Labour spinner thrown out after he admitted backing another party
- He revealed expulsion in series of tweets – but said he would appeal the decision
- Bob Ainsworth, ex-defence secretary, expected to be expelled for voting Green
- Tony Blair says Campbell wouldn’t have been the only Labour member who did it
- Critics say Campbell thrown out quicker than members found to be anti-Semitic
Alastair Campbell was dramatically expelled from the Labour Party yesterday – 36 hours after he admitting voting Liberal Democrat in the European elections.
Tony Blair’s former spin doctor was told by email he had been thrown out for supporting a rival party.
He had only revealed late on Sunday night that he voted Liberal Democrat ‘to try to persuade Labour to do the right thing’ on a second referendum.
Alastair Campbell was today expelled from Labour after he admitted he had not voted for the party for first time in his life, in disgust at the party’s stance on Europe
Muslim Council calls for probe into allegations of Islamophobia in Tory Party as Labour anti-Semitism investigation begins
The Conservative Party should be investigated by the equalities watchdog over allegations of Islamophobia, the Muslim Council of Britain has urged.
In a letter to the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the body’s secretary-general Harun Khan said he believed there is ‘sufficient evidence’ to suggest there is a ‘prima facie case to answer of systemic unlawful acts’ by the party.
Mr Khan said around 150 representatives and members of the party have ‘engaged in Islamophobia’.
And he accused those responsible for handling complaints of demonstrating a ‘callous attitude’.
Labour insisted yesterday that supporting another party was ‘incompatible with membership’ – despite Mr Campbell making clear that he’ll ‘always be Labour’.
Last night critics pointed to the speed with which Labour had expelled Mr Campbell compared to the length of time it has taken to act against members accused of anti-Semitism and other serious allegations.
The expulsion came on the day the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a formal inquiry into the party over anti-Semitism.
Labour MP Jess Phillips said Mr Campbell was ‘expelled quicker than a man who threatened to kill me and quicker than a man in my local party who denied the Holocaust’, adding: ‘Both are only still suspended.’
Diane Abbott today gave Jeremy Corbyn a shove towards formally backing a second EU referendum calling it ‘the democratic thing to do’.
The Shadow Home Secretary said a new vote on any Brexit deal must become Labour policy and she also urged the party to campaign to remain in the EU.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Now at minutes to midnight on these negotiations, the Tories plunged into their leadership contest so we get no sense out of them for a few months, we think it’s important to foreground the People’s Vote.’
She added: ‘There is no inherent contradiction between respecting the result of the referendum and having a People’s Vote, not least because it’s still not sure how a People’s Vote would pan out.
Mr Corbyn is under huge pressure to back a new poll after Labour’s electoral humiliation triggered a mutiny at the top of his party. He signalled he could be ready to commit to a second Brexit vote after his closest colleagues said it was the only way to stop Labour haemorrhaging support.
Tony Blair predicted today that it is ‘more likely now that we will have another referendum and more likely that therefore we will vote to stay in the European Union’, and said the party needs to ‘stop equivocating’ on Brexit.
Dame Margaret Hodge said: ‘So it takes five days [from voting] for Labour to expel Alastair Campbell but almost three years to expel prolific anti-Semite Jackie Walker. This is why the EHRC are investigating.’
Miriam Mirwitch, national leader of Young Labour, suggested the Campbell story was being used to distract attention away from the EHRC anti-Semitism probe that was announced into the party yesterday.
She said: ‘The Alastair Campbell story is a dead cat distracting from the EHRC investigation. It matters that our approach to discipline is so inconsistent.’ Mr Campbell said there appeared to be a difference in the swift way his situation had been dealt with compared to ‘the way anti-Semitism cases have been handled’.
He said he would be appealing against the decision, pointing out that many of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s senior aides had voted for other parties in the past.
Meanwhile, it emerged last night that former Labour home secretary Charles Clarke had also voted Lib Dem in a ‘one-off decision’ and ex-defence secretary Bob Ainsworth had been expelled for voting Green last week.
Former MP Fiona Mactaggart dared Labour to expel her after she revealed on Twitter she had not voted for the party.
Mr Campbell announced on Twitter that he had been expelled.
He tweeted: ‘Sad and disappointed to receive email expelling me from Labour – particularly on a day the leadership finally seems to be moving to the right place on Brexit, not least thanks to tactical voting by party members, including MPs, councillors and peers who back a People’s Vote.
‘I have been advised by lawyers with expertise in this field I have grounds for appeal against expulsion and shall do so. I am and always will be Labour.
‘I voted Lib Dem, without advance publicity, to try to persuade Labour to do right thing for country/party. It is hard not to point out difference in the way anti-Semitism cases have been handled.
‘Plenty of precedent of members voting for other parties/causes. Some are now senior party staff. Approach also contrasts with our era when Tony Blair was being pressed by whips to withdraw whip for Jeremy Corbyn and others for persistently voting against Labour in Parliament, and he said no.’
Speaking outside his home in north London, Mr Campbell said: ‘I’m not going to leave the party just because some random email comes in telling me that I’ve been expelled. So I will definitely appeal against it and we will see where that goes.’
He claimed people in ‘senior positions’ in Mr Corbyn’s office had recommended voting against Labour.
Mr Campbell declined to say who he would vote for in a snap general election.
Campbell hit back by promising to protect the ‘secrets’ of Labour members who also told them they had not voted Labour
He said: ‘I want to vote Labour at the general election but that will depend on the policy that the Labour Party puts forward between now and then in relation to Brexit.’
Mr Clarke said Labour ‘should immediately withdraw its expulsion of Alastair’ and pledged to back the party at the next general election.
A Labour spokesman said its rules were that people who vote for other parties are automatically expelled, but those accused of anti-Semitism have to go through a separate disciplinary process.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured yesterday) was not thrown out of the party by Tony Blair despite the number of times he voted against his own party
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