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The muddle around a conflict within Labour

Panel hear accusations of a Labour ‘witch-hunt’

24 May, 2018 — By John Gulliver

Marc Wadsworth

YOU could say the protest meeting over the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party on the grounds of ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ had got a little out of hand.

That somehow his denial of the charge, and that of his supporters in the crowded hall of the Indian YMCA in Fitzrovia, seemed to get mixed up with speeches accusing the party of “racism”.

But that was how one of the speakers, Jackie Walker, also suspended from the party on the same grounds, saw it.

She accused opponents in the party of creating a “toxic” atmosphere that generated a “witch-hunt” against certain members like herself and Marc Wadsworth.

The mixed panel included the comic Alexei Sayle, who supported Marc Wadsworth, a veteran black party member, and a former TV journalist and campaigner against “racism” in the media.

Alexei Sayle

He had been picked on by opponents of Jeremy Corbyn in the party, claimed speakers. They accused the sub-committee of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) that had expelled him of being a “kangaroo court”. It had been chaired by a leading NEC member, Maggie Cousins, a former Camden Labour councillor in the 90s and early part of this century.

Marc Wadsworth said he had a record of more than 40 years of campaigning against racism and his expulsion was “collateral” damage in the conflict between certain MPs and Jeremy Corbyn.

He was in consultation with lawyers who said he had “substantial” grounds for an appeal and a case of “defamation”.

Prof Moshe Machover

Another speaker, Professor Moshe Machover, aged 82, a mathematician and a Hampstead party member, expelled for “anti-Semitism” and then reinstated after widespread protests, said that with a mass membership of more than half-a-million it would be “statistically astounding” if there were not some “anti-Semites”, even paedophiles, in the party, but this could not be said generally of the party.

Three other black speakers were concerned about growing racism in society reflected in the “persecution” of the Windrush generation. The report by Dame Shami Chakrabarti had emphasised the need to combat “racism” in the Labour Party as well as “anti-Semitism” – but this had been downplayed by Corbyn’s critics, it was said.

Supporting Marc Wadsworth, Angela Lee, an online presenter for the Genesis channel, said little had changed over the years and low expectations were still set for black schoolchildren among whom there were too many “exclusions”. She herself had been told by her teacher she would only make a “typist” – and her son had been told he would only be good at “sport”.­ And this had happened at schools under a Labour administration in Lewisham, she charged.

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