Former Blair Spin Doctor Alastair Campbell Expelled from Labour Party

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 14: Journalist and Burnley fan Alastair Campbell looks on prior to the Premier League match between Burnley and West Ham United at Turf Moor on October 14, 2017 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Ian MacNicol/Getty

Former Labour spin doctor and dedicated Europhile Remainer Alastair Campbell has been expelled from the Labour Party after announcing that he voted for the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament elections.

Mr Campbell, who was a senior member of Tony Blair’s three-time election winning team, announced his expulsion in a series of tweets on Tuesday.

He said: “Sad and disappointed to receive email expelling me from [the Labour Party] — particularly on a day leadership finally seems to be moving to the right place on Brexit, not least thanks to tactical voting by party members, including MPs, councillors and peers who back [a ‘People’s Vote’].”

Mr Campbell had announced previously that he would be tactically voting for the Liberal Democrats in order to try and pressure the Labour Party to adopt a pro-Remain stance on Brexit. He said: “I am and always will be Labour. I voted Lib Dem, without advance publicity, to try to persuade Labour to do right thing for country/party.”

Campbell compared the speed of his expulsion with the way in which the antisemitism crisis engulfing Labour had been dealt with. He said it was “hard not to point out difference in the way anti-Semitism cases have been handled”.

Former Blackadder actor Tony Robinson, who recently quit the Labour Party, commented on the comparison between Mr Campbell’s swift expulsion and the considerably delayed reaction to antisemitism claims in the party, saying: “Blimey! Labour struggling for years to take disciplinary action against members accused of antisemitism but managed to expel Alastair Campbell for voting Lib Dem over the course of one Bank Holiday weekend. Amazing new efficiency!!”

Campbell also pointed out that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had repeatedly voted against the party in the past and never been expelled from the party for doing so.

“Plenty of precedent of members voting for other parties/causes. Some are now senior Party staff. Approach also contrasts with our era when TB [Tony Blair] was being pressed by whips to withdraw whip for JC [Jeremy Corbyn] and others for persistently voting against [Labour] in Parliament, and he said No.”

Mr Campbell’s expulsion has caused a considerable amount of debate on social media. The hard-left, pro-Corbyn group Momentum tweeted that “Alastair Campbell’s ‘sexed up’ dossier started the Iraq war and left a million dead. Being kicked out of the party is the least he deserves.”

In contrast, political journalist Robert Peston said: “In decades covering politics, I have never known anyone as obsessively tribally Labour as ⁦[Alastair Campbell]⁩.

“Expelling him so rapidly for voting LibDem, even though he did not promote what he was doing, while taking ages to expel alleged antisemites, sends out the oddest of messages.

“Parties that are so intolerant of political dissent rarely prosper in our first-past-post system.”

Meanwhile businessman and Leave.EU co-founder Arron Banks offered some advice to Mr Campbell in light of the spin-doctor’s support for the EU, saying: “Ignore the email and say they didn’t know what they were doing…”

Mr Campbell has vowed to appeal his expulsion.

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