‘To all the MPs who told me they were not voting Labour, your secrets are safe with me’: ‘Lifelong’ Labour member Alastair Campbell hits back as he is expelled from party for voting Lib Dem at EU elections
- 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 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.
Hitting back at Corbyn and his leadership he said: ‘To all the Labour staff, MPs, peers and councillors who told me they were not voting Labour fear not; as I believe in loyalty to the tribe, your secrets are safe with me’.
The Labour leadership threw him out of the party over his vote – but Mr Campbell will appeal saying Jeremy Corbyn was never expelled despite spending years voting against Labour in Parliament from the backbenches.
He said: ‘I’m still in the Labour Party as far as I’m concerned and I’ll always be Labour’.
Mr Campbell, who backs a people’s vote on Brexit, added: ‘I don’t think I’ve supported another party, I don’t support another party, tactical voting has gone on for years.’
He said he wouldn’t name party colleagues who had also voted against Labour out of ‘friendship’ and ‘loyalty’.
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
Campbell hit back by promising to protect the ‘secrets’ of Labour members who also told them they had not voted Labour
He added: ‘I know there are an awful lot of MPs and councillors and peers who did not vote for Labour in the European elections and they did it for the same reasons I did it, to try and get the Labour Party to see sense on the single most important issue facing the country.’
Diane Abbott says Labour must now back a second Brexit referendum
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.
Bob Ainsworth, defence secretary under Gordon Brown, is also set to be expelled after admitting to voting Green last week.
He said: ‘When you see a guy being expelled from the party for doing exactly the same as you’ve done, you stick your hands up and say: ‘I am Spartacus’.’
Mr Campbell spoke out after receiving an email from Labour telling him he is no longer a member.
He tweeted: ‘Sad and disappointed to receive email expelling me from @UKLabour – particularly on a day 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 was not intending to publicise this at this stage, but have had calls from friends in the Party telling me it is now widely known and likely to be leaked. I have been advised by lawyers with expertise in this field I have grounds for appeal against expulsion and shall do so’.
Today Britain’s human rights watchdog has launched a formal investigation into whether the Labour Party ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’.
Mr Campbell said there was a difference in the swift way his situation had been dealt with compared to ‘the way anti-Semitism cases have been handled’.
Labour MP Margaret Hodge backed him up and said: ‘So it takes 5 days for Labour to expel @campbellclaret but almost 3 years to expel prolific anti-semite Jackie Walker. This is why the EHRC are investigating’.
Momentum, Jeremy Corbyn’s grassroots movement, tweeted: ‘Alastair Campbell’s ‘sexed up’ dossier started the Iraq war and left a million dead. Being kicked out of the party is the least he deserves’.
A Labour spokesman said: ‘Support for another political party or candidate is incompatible with party membership’.
The party was pushed into third place nationally by the pro-Remain Liberal Democrats on Sunday night.
Mr Campbell said after the results came in: ‘I voted Lib Dem, as did Fiona Miller [his partner]. For both of us the first time ever we did not vote Labour.
‘I’m not a Lib Dem. I’m Labour and I hope that in voting as I did I will help the Labour Party see sense and do right thing for the country: People’s Vote.’
He added: ‘If Islington has gone Lib Dem then maybe even Jeremy Corbyn might realise the strategy pursued by the posh boy revolutionaries is failing badly and putting his and Labour’s future at risk.’
Mr Campbell was Mr Blair’s chief spokesman from 1994 to 2003. He is now a key figure in the People’s Vote campaign, demanding a second referendum.
Today Tony Blair said he understood why his friend and former spin doctor had decided to vote Lib Dem.
He said: ‘I voted Labour. I said I was going to and I did although without any great enthusiasm frankly. But I did.’
Asked what he would say to Alastair Campbell after he admitted voting Lib Dem he said: ‘I understand why you did what you did. You wouldn’t be the only person I know who voted Labour all their lives who didn’t vote Labour in this election.’
Campbell has also been accused of spinning the result of the European elections by claiming the remain parties came out on top.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said it was another example of pro-EU politicians ‘moaning about every single election which they lose’.
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
The rebuke came after some Remainers – including Campbell – argued that by adding up the total votes for anti-Brexit parties, Sunday’s poll results proved the public did not want to leave the EU.
Mr Farage was asked about the argument as he appeared on ITV’s GMB programme, with presenter Charlotte Hawkins claiming: ‘If you add up all the pro-Remain parties they did get a bigger percentage – 35.8 per cent versus the Brexit Party’s 31.6 per cent.’
But a furious Mr Farage replied: ‘This is absolute tosh. It is not a fact. Add up the Brexit vote, add up the Ukip vote.. add the Conservative vote… and you will find that Leave beat Remain’.