The Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs has released a statement defending Ken Loach as a “fierce opponent of discrimination”, urging the party to reinstate the filmmaker.
Loach, a veteran left-winger, said on Saturday that he had been expelled from Labour in a “purge” of critics of the leadership.
The 85-year-old said he had been ejected after he refused to “disown” other critics from the Labour left who had already been removed.
It came after the party last month expelled four associated groups on the grounds that they were “not compatible” with Labour values, including organisations which had been critical of Sir Keir Starmer’s efforts to tackle antisemitism within the party’s ranks.
Reinstate Ken Loach. pic.twitter.com/jrrmnFvlr7— Socialist Campaign Group (@socialistcam) August 16, 2021
‘We are the many’
In a defiant series of tweets, Loach insisted that the “clique” around the Labour leader would never ultimately prevail.
“Labour HQ finally decided I’m not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled,” he said.
“Well, I am proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimised by the purge. There is indeed a witch hunt. Starmer and his clique will never lead a party of the people.
“We are many, they are few. Solidarity.”
Loach is understood to have been expelled because he is a supporter and ‘sponsor’ of Labour Against the Witchhunt – a group which opposes the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, and claims to reject the “false antisemitism smear”.
In a statement published on Monday, the Socialist Campaign Group called for Loach to be “immediately reinstated”.
‘Starmer and his clique will never lead a party of the people. We are many, they are few. Solidarity.’ KL— Ken Loach & Sixteen Films (@KenLoachSixteen) August 14, 2021
Signed by MPs including Jeremy Corbyn, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Diane Abbott and John McDonnell, it said: “Ken is an outstanding socialist and a fierce opponent of discrimination in all its forms, whose work has done more than any other living British filmmaker to shine a light on injustice and oppression.
“The values embodies in his films – solidarity, compassion, equality – should be the values proudly championed by our party.
“That Ken is expelled while Islamophobes are welcomed is shameful, and suggests the party leadership is drifting yet further away from these values.
“These attacks are aimed at demoralising and pushing socialist members away from the party. But the only way to return our socialist and internationalist principles to the heart of British politics is for Labour members to stay in the party and champion them.
“The socialist leadership that hundreds of thousands of you made possible need not be consigned to the past of our party. It can be the future. Let’s fight for it together.”