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Anti-racist campaigner's expulsion is ‘a new low’ for the party, Jewish activists say

Labour's National Constitutional Committee expels Marc Wadsworth

ACTIVIST Mark Wadsworth's expulsion from Labour is a “new low” for the party, Jewish activists said today as the lifelong anti-racism campaigner vowed to fight the decision.

A Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) spokesperson said Mr Wadsworth, who was expelled for “bringing the party into disrepute,” was “punished in advance” of the investigation and hearing of the case.

Mr Wadsworth’s expulsion was over a spat with Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth in 2016 during the launch of the Chakrabarti report on anti-semitism. He claimed that Ms Smeeth was "working hand in hand" with the Daily Telegraph after observing a Telegraph reporter handing her a press release.

Ms Smeeth stormed out of the meeting, later claiming that the comment reinforced anti-semitic stereotypes about Jews controlling the media.

A hearing by Labour's disciplinary body found today his behaviour had been “grossly detrimental to the party.”

JVL said: "The National Constitutional Committee (NCC) made its judgement against the background of Wadsworth’s summary suspension 22 months ago, which was itself a travesty of the transparent, fair and equitable procedures one would expect from a labour movement organisation.

"He was universally pilloried in the media as guilty of a detestable hate crime.

“Headlines described him as ‘the activist who made Jewish MP weep’ and his name was linked repeatedly with anti-semitism.

“Representing this veteran black activist as guilty of abusing a Jewish politician is not only unjust, it risks damaging the essential cause of combatting rising racist bigotry in society by pitting blacks against Jews.

"It is a bitter irony that Wadsworth’s unjust treatment would not have been possible if the relevant recommendations of the Chakrabarti report had been implemented rather than being obstructed by the party’s entrenched bureaucracy."

Mr Wadsworth said in a statement that he was overwhelmed by the support he received.

He said: "I deplore anti-semitism, anti-black racism, Islamophobia and all forms of prejudice, bigotry and discrimination that I have campaigned against all my political life and will continue to do so.

"With my brilliant legal team, who won the arguments hands down, I will be looking at all my options to legally challenge the decision."

Labour Against the Witch-hunt said the decision to expel him was “outrageous,” while Grassroots Black Left (GBL) also said it was appalled by the expulsion.

GBL co-chair Deborah Hobson said: “Marc Wadsworth has been made a scapegoat in the battle between anti-Jeremy Corbyn Labour zealots and those people who support a twice democratically elected party leader.

"These rightwingers will stop at nothing in their attempts to remove Corbyn.”

Dozens of Labour MPs had marched in support of Jewish colleague Ms Smeeth as she prepared to give evidence at Mr Wadsworth's disciplinary hearing this week.

Mr Wadsworth accused the “gang of white MPs” of bullying behaviour, saying it was “a crude attempt to influence the outcome of my hearing, and it seems to have had an effect.”

He was supported by Labour MP Chris Williamson, who said he was “astonished” by the “perverse” ruling.

“It flies in the face of the evidence that was presented and offends against the principles of natural justice.

“The NCC's decision has all the hallmarks of predetermination and tramples on the Labour Party's record of standing up for fairness.”

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