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Labour left defends Drakeford against criticism for planning to attend event alongside expelled individuals

Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt

THE Labour left defended Mark Drakeford today after the party’s leader in Wales was criticised for planning to attend an event alongside individuals expelled from Labour.

The Welsh First Minister is due to address The World Transformed (TWT), an annual festival of progressive politics that takes place alongside the Labour Party conference in Brighton at the end of September.

Mr Drakeford will be joined by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had the parliamentary whip withdrawn last year after he said that allegations of anti-semitism in Labour had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons.”

Other speakers include film director Ken Loach, who was thrown out of the party earlier this month for refusing to condemn those already expelled amid fears that Sir Keir Starmer is bent on purging socialists from Labour’s ranks.

Hampshire Labour councillor John Haywood attacked the First Minister’s plans to attend TWT, tweeting: “Very very disappointed that Mark Drakeford is on the bill at Twit Festival, which is basically a Trot jamboree.”

The Wales Against Anti-semitism group also tweeted: “Why does Mark Drakeford think it appropriate to speak at this event, given anti-semitism controversies involving many of his fellow speakers?”

Reacting to the criticism, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) applauded the Welsh party leader’s readiness to address the festival, describing it as a “welcoming space for a new generation of young activists” who feel “increasingly alienated” under Sir Keir.

A JVL spokesperson told the Morning Star: “Hurling evidence-free accusations of anti-semitism around like confetti and then attempting to turn people like Jeremy Corbyn into non-persons who must be shunned is absolutely deplorable and dangerous for democracy.

“Those who talk of Labour as a ‘broad church’ are in reality trying to turn it into a narrow sect, a Tory B-team. What is really under attack is a pluralist party in which socialist ideas can be openly and robustly expressed and debated.

“[Mr] Drakeford is clearly having no truck with this censorious nonsense and we wish more politicians were prepared to make such a stand, whether they agree with us or not.

“Disagreement is not hate speech and silencing is not the way to retain members or to gain the confidence of voters.”

Welsh Labour and TWT organisers were contacted for comment.

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