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Labour Party chiefs spark backlash over Wadsworth expulsion

CENTRE: Marc Wadsworth

LABOUR PARTY officials face a legal challenge to its expulsion of anti-racist campaigner, Marc Wadsworth due to growing opposition from members.

Supporters of the former Party member have donated more than £25,000 to a legal case through a crowdfund website with nationwide rallies being launched and a public meeting today (May 15) in London that is likely to boost funds.

Leading civil rights solicitors Birnberg Pierce and a top QC from Doughty Street Chambers are building a case that may end up at the High Court based on ‘substantial grounds’ for breaches by party officials of the Labour’s own rules, human rights violations and for defamation.

Jewish celebrity Alexei Sayle, suspended anti-racist Jackie Walker and reinstated member and lecturer Moshe Machover, a prominent Israeli socialist, will take part in the first rally in central London today.

Further rallies this month take place in Liverpool, Chester, Birmingham and Sheffield. Other public meetings are being planned for Swansea, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester.

Alexei Sayle commented: “The Party should walk over broken glass to beg people of Marc’s calibre to work with them - they are very few and Marc is one of the best. There is a battle going on to destroy and reverse the unexpected and amazing gains the left has made in the last three years. Marc is a casualty in that battle and I am joining the fight to see him re-instated to the front line.”

The #Justice4Marc campaign is also being backed by party members in Grassroots Black Left, Labour Against the Witchhunt, the Labour Representation Committee, whose president is Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, and Jewish Voice for Labour. Marc’s expulsion was opposed by MPs Chris Williamson, Clive Lewis and Keith Vaz, who gave evidence to his National Constitutional Committee hearing on 25 April. 2018.

As a Croydon North constituency Labour Party member, Marc Wadsworth, was expelled after a hearing by an all-white three-person panel on April 25 for ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ and not anti-semitism.

The disciplinary panel heard that former Israel lobbyist Ruth Smeeth MP, claimed Marc was anti-semitic at the launch of the Chakrabarti report after he said he saw her working with a right-wing journalist from the Daily Telegraph. His main complaint was about the under-representation of black people at the event and among reporters and Labour Party staff present.

Marc Wadsworth commented: “My lawyers have told me I have a strong case, so I hope the Labour Party will reverse its decision to expel me to save on the thousands of pounds it has already spent pursuing its wrongful case against me. It is the action of Labour officials that has brought the party into disrepute not anything I’ve done.. “

He added: “The new party general secretary Jennie Formby has said the process used to hear the case is not fit for purpose, so I’m somewhat dismayed why it went ahead. I've been overwhelmed by a tsunami of support from around the country since my expulsion. People are outraged by the injustice.”

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, of Jewish Voice for Labour, commented “We condemn the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth from the Labour Party, and the procedures that led up to it, on the back of a scurrilous campaign to damage his reputation by falsely branding him as an anti-semite.

"This has been deeply divisive because Black people and Jews should be working together to fight racism not be pitted against each other. We fully support the campaign for Marc’s reinstatement.”

The Justice4Marc speaking tour takes place Tuesday 15 May, 6.30pm at 41 Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, London W1T 6AQ

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