High-profile Labour MP Clive Lewis has called on Jeremy Corbyn, “to come out fighting” over the controversial expulsion from the party of Marc Wadsworth, the anti-racism campaigner from Thornton Heath.
Wadsworth was expelled as a Labour member in April, after a two-year suspension over comments he had made at the launch of the Chakrabarti report into anti-semitism and racism.
Wadsworth accused centrist MP Ruth Smeeth of working “hand-in-hand” with a Daily Torygraph hack at the event, at which point Smeeth decided to storm out of the meeting.
While much focus during his suspension suggested Wadsworth had in some way directed anti-semitic abuse towards Smeeth, when he eventually was given an opportunity to be heard at a Labour disciplinary meeting, Wadsworth discovered his “offence” was to “bring the party into disrepute”.
Steve Reed OBE, the Progress MP for Wadsworth’s Croydon North constituency, has given public support to Smeeth.
But now Wadsworth is attracting support for his case from other, Labour MPs.
At the Grassroots Black Left fringe meeting at last week’s Labour Conference in Liverpool, Lewis, the MP for Norwich South, joined a growing group of supporters for Wadsworth’s case. Addressing the meeting, Lewis said Wadsworth had merely been making a political point about right-wing Labour MPs working cosily with right-wing newspapers.
“It was not an anti-semitic trope,” Lewis said of Wadsworth’s remarks. “It was a political observation.”
To applause from the body of the meeting, Lewis continued, “You’ve seen what happens when you stick your head above the parapet on this issue. It gets shot off.
“People should be able to express themselves politically.
“I would like to see Jeremy Corbyn come out fighting on this issue.”
With eight days of his crowdfunding appeal left to run, Wadsworth has so far raised almost £30,000 for his fund for a legal challenge against his expulsion from the Labour Party. Click here for more information.
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