Certain left-wing groups are set to be proscribed from the Labour Party as Sir Keir Starmer pushes to get rid of "toxic extremism".
Certain left-wing groups are set to be proscribed from the Labour Party, as Sir Keir Starmer pushes to get rid of “toxic extremism”.
National president of the bakers’ union, Ian Hodson, and film maker, Ken Loach, are among those who may be expelled this Tuesday.
Labour wants to proscribe Socialist Appeal, Labour in Exile Network, Labour Against the Witchhunt and Resist, with the decision being made on Tuesday 20 July at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
If the proposal is approved, which is expected given the pro-Starmer NEC majority, anyone supporting these groups will be automatically expelled from Labour.
Unlike the past approach of assessing individuals to get rid of Militant members, the party has decided it will automatically kick members out if they support these groups.
Ken Loach and Ian Hodson could both be expelled because they are official ‘sponsors’ of Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), a group started in 2017 to campaign against what it believed to be politically motivated allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
The proposed criteria for a ban includes participation in an event the group has hosted or organised – meaning it will impact more people than simply ‘members’ of the four groups.
Resist along with Labour Against Witchhunt have claimed the anti-Semitism allegations were politically motivated, a claim condemned by others in the party.
Labour in Exile was set up for members that are suspended or expelled, and Socialist Appeal is a communist group which runs a newspaper of the same name.
Banning Momentum, which now has thousands of members, is also reportedly not on the cards.
A Momentum spokesperson said: “At a time when the Tory Government is allowing the pandemic to rip through the country, the Labour leadership has once again turned inwards, creating a vacuum where real opposition is needed and distracting from the task of delivering a Labour Government.
“The auto-expulsion of members that share this ambition and our Party’s values only strengthens the Tories. We oppose guilt by association. The Labour Party has always been home to a wide range of political traditions and we have a responsibility to work with each other to build support for socialist ideas and policies.”
Alex Falconer, a film director and member of the Socialist Appeal group, had already been kicked out of the party on the 11th June, with the party claiming he could no longer remain a member of Labour while supporting the left-wing faction.
Jennifer Forbes, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for the Truro & Falmouth constituency in 2019, defended Falconer after his expulsion, writing: “Alex Falconer has already made an enormous contribution to the Labour Party. He was very active in both 2017 & 2018 elections. The legacy of his legendary nightly canvassing in Falmouth undoubtedly laid the groundwork to return two unitary councillors in Falmouth this year.
“The Labour Party should be a broadchurch that welcomes such dedicated activism. Being a socialist, should not be a reason for expulsion from the Labour Party.”
Euan Philipps, spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, said: “We welcome the Labour Party’s plan to proscribe these four groups, who represent some of the most extreme elements of the antisemitic Hard Left.
“Over recent years they have promoted anti-Jewish views, encouraged a toxic environment for Jewish party members and hampered attempts to tackle antisemitism. Members of these groups have previously even threatened our activists to the extent that police involvement was required. We therefore believe it is appropriate that they are banned from any future Labour Party involvement.”
Lucy Skoulding is a journalist and human rights student. Follow her on Twitter @Lucy_Skoulding
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