LAW statement on the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth

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“Victim of a politically motivated campaign against Jeremy Corbyn”

Labour Against the Witchhunt strongly condemns the outrageous decision to expel Marc Wadsworth after a two-day hearing in front of three right-wing members of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee.

Marc is the latest victim of the politically motivated witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Marc Wadsworth, a lifelong campaigner against racism, has been smeared and his reputation tarnished, first by the vile and false allegations against him and now, to top it off, by this deeply unjust verdict. Following 22 months of trial-by-media, our comrade had very little chance of receiving a fair hearing – and he did not get one.

Ruth Smeeth MP claimed that at the launch of the Charkrabarti report in June 2016, veteran anti-racist campaigner Marc Wadsworth was being “anti-Semitic” for criticising her as “working hand in hand” with a reporter of the Daily Telegraph – a fallacious claim that was repeated in almost every newspaper.

An all-white, three person panel of the National Constitutional Committee of the Labour Party, however, did not uphold this charge. They expelled Marc Wadsworth on April 27 2018 under the catch-all phrase of “bringing the party into disrepute” (point 2.1.8 in Labour’s 2016 rulebook).

It is not Marc who has brought the party “into disrepute” – it is the “shameless smears” of the “Corbyn-hating” MPs (Len McCluskey in the New Statesman), who have worked tirelessly to undermine Jeremy Corbyn at every opportunity since his election as Labour leader in 2015.

Chris Williamson MP got it exactly right when he called this decision“perverse”. He has quite rightly criticised the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends”. We warmly welcome his courageous support for Marc at the hearing and the support of Clive Lewis MP, who supplied a witness statement and said: “I’ve known him for 20 years. He’s an anti-racist campaigner. I watched that video and I don’t think that warranted being expelled from Labour.”

This is in stark contrast to the cynical PR stunt orchestrated by Wes Streeting MP, who has made no secret of his severe dislike for Jeremy Corbyn and his policies. Ruth Smeeth did not need to be ‘protected’ on her way into Church House. LAW’s lobby outside the expulsion hearing was always planned as a protest in support of Marcand not in opposition to Smeeth. If Smeeth, who has been funded by the Israeli lobby even since becoming an MP,cannot deal with walking past a couple of dozen protestors, maybe she (or the members in her Constituency Labour Party) should reconsider if being an MP is the right profession for her.

We call on Jeremy Corbyn, general secretary Jennie Formby and the National Executive Committee to finally put an end to this ongoing witch-hunt against the left in the party. The right-wing will demand more and more scalps. But the history of appeasement in politics teaches us they will never be satisfied. Capitulation to their unscrupulous demands is not the answer. They can never have enough suspensions, enough expulsions, enough compromised principles, including Corbyn’s lifelong support for the rights of the Palestinians.

This campaign against ‘Anti-Semitism’ has become the new anti-communism. We are in a period of new McCarthyism in the Labour Party. It is to be greatly regretted that Jeremy Corbyn, who in the 1980s was the secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt, seems to be going along with this witch-hunt.

The number of cases of anti-Semitism among Labour Party members upheld remains tiny. The overwhelming majority of allegations have been baseless and politically motivated – used to purge or muzzle members who support Corbyn and those who are critical of Israeli government policies and actions.

We are witnessing the development of a chilling culture of fear, self-censorship, of members afraid to openly ask questions and learn, particularly on social media. We have seen many good Corbyn-supporting comrades being thrown to the wolves of the Tory Party and their supporters in the mainstream media. They are publicly smeared as Holocaust deniers, anti-Semites, racists – and have no way of fighting back against such vile accusations. These smears have ruined lives. Labour’s broken disciplinary procedure is not fit for purpose. It has actually resulted in suicides.

We call for an end to the expulsions and suspensions of Labour Party members for their political views. All those summarily expelled or suspended from membership without due process, or as part of the anti-Corbyn witch-hunt, should be immediately reinstated – and that includes Marc Wadsworth, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Stan Keable, Tony Greenstein and Cyril Chilson.

We agree with the statement by Jewish Voice for Labour, according to which Marc’s “treatment has been a travesty of the transparent, fair and equitable procedures one would expect from a labour movement organisation. It is a further irony that his summary suspension followed by 22 months in limbo would not have been possible if the relevant recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report had been implemented.”