Prominent Labour Party members have rallied around the hashtag #expelmetoo following yesterday’s decision to banish Alastair Campbell from the party for voting Liberal Democrat in last week’s European elections.
The former spin doctor was expelled within 24 hours of admitting on live TV he had switched support for that election because of Labour’s position on Brexit.
He said he would “always be Labour” but acted “in the best interests of what the Labour Party should be doing” by supporting a pro-Remain party.
Labour shifted its position on Brexit shortly after the vote announcing it fully supports a people’s vote on whatever the exit looks like.
Jeremy Corbyn wrote: “It is clear that the deadlock in parliament can now only be broken by the issue going back to the people through a general election or a public vote. We are ready to support a public vote on any deal.”
A wave of support for Campbell has emerged since the announcement, with the hashtag #expelmetoo trending on Twitter.
Charles Clarke, the former Cabinet minister under Tony Blair, revealed that he had also voted Lib Dem, along with several other people.
Paul Rae said: “Been a member of Labour since 1994. Always voted Labour. Always canvas at every election. Been a member of the 1000 Club now called Rose Network for 5 years …. Voted Lib Dem last Thursday because I am opposed to Brexit and Labour’s Brexit policy is ambiguous”.
And Cathy Halstead added: “Yep me too. Labour member, lifelong labour voter, want a second referendum, voted Lib Dem. #expelmetoo”
The news of Campell’s expulsion emerged on the day it was announced that Labour is being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission over antisemitism.
Many have pointed out that while Labour has been quick to expel the prominent Remainer, it has been less swift to take action against members who have written antisemitic remarks on social media.
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has urged an “amnesty” for party members who voted Liberal Democrat or Green in the European elections.
He said: “It is very clear that many thousands of Labour Party members voted for other parties last week. They were disappointed with the position on Brexit that a small number of people on the NEC inserted into our manifesto.
“They were sending the NEC a message that our position lacked clarity and they were right. It is spiteful to resort to expulsions when the NEC should be listening to members.”