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Labour’s deputy leader demands expulsion ‘amnesty’ over European elections | Politics News



Labour members who backed other parties in the European elections should be granted an amnesty from expulsion, the party’s deputy leader has demanded.

Tom Watson waded into the row over Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit to blast the “spiteful” move to throw long-serving members out of the party.

He claimed voters backed rival candidates to send the Labour leadership “a message that our position lacked clarity”, adding: “They were right.”

A Labour Party supporter wears a rosette in support of the political party during the election count for Basildon at the Sports Village in Basildon, Essex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 6, 2016. See PA story POLITICS Election. Photo credit should read: Hannah McKay/PA Wire .
Labour says it cannot comment on individual membership queries

It comes after Alastair Campbell, a former head of communications in Downing Street, was expelled for admitting he voted Liberal Democrat in the European Parliament poll last week.

“It was a very, very strange feeling but I think on this issue, at this time, the Labour Party has let its own supporters down, its let its own members down, and its let the country down,” he announced on Sunday.

Days later, a Labour spokesperson confirmed he had been expelled because supporting a party other than Labour at an election was “incompatible” with being a member.

A series of former top Labour cabinet ministers then declared they had also backed other parties, including ex-home secretary Charles Clarke and the former defence secretary Bob Ainsworth.

It kicked off a social media campaign – #ExpelMeToo – with people saying they were Labour voters or members who backed different parties last week.

Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell defends his decision not to vote for the party in the European elections.

Campbell: Kicking me out ‘a strange thing to do’

Mr Watson then claimed “thousands” of people were in the same position and that Labour’s ruling body that decides its policy should be “listening to members rather than punishing them”.

“The politics of intolerance holds no future for the Labour Party,” he said in a statement.

“A broad church party requires pluralism and tolerance to survive.

“There should be an amnesty for members who voted a different way last week.”

Labour says it cannot comment on individual membership queries due to data protection responsibilities.

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