Wadsworth going legal – and on the road – to clear his name

wads lawr mandela
Marc Wadsworth introduces Stephen Lawrence’s family to Nelson Mandela

Veteran Labour activist Marc Wadsworth was expelled from the party last week after a suspension of two years, following an exchange with Labour MP Ruth Smeeth – a decision that was greeted with outrage by Wadsworth’s many supporters – and exploited by the Tories and right-wing media to attack Labour.

Wadsworth has spoken to the SKWAWKBOX about his planned next steps.

Going legal

Wadsworth confirmed to this blog that legal action is high on his to-do list – and that this is likely to involve personal action for defamation as well as challenges to the decision. He said that the measures available do not include judicial review, because Labour is not a valid entity for such an action – but that every other measure will be looked at.

Wadsworth is paying particular attention to comments made in or by the media, or on social media, in the aftermath of the decision to expel him. He claimed that Ruth Smeeth had admitted making incorrect claims about him but had claimed she was protected by parliamentary privilege – but noted that certain other MPs had made similar comments on social media, where privilege would not apply.

Going on the road

Wadsworth told the SKWAWKBOX that there has been so much support since his expulsion and so much demand for personal appearances to discuss his case, that he will be embarking on a tour or roadshow.

To this end, one of his supporters has set up a crowdfunding page to cover the associated costs. A separate page has been set up as donations to his legal fighting fund need to be ring-fenced for that purpose.

The first event will be at 7pm on Tuesday 15 May at the Indian YMCA, 41 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 6AQ.

Correcting the record

While the majority of the mainstream media have been careful not to state directly that Wadsworth was expelled from the party for antisemitism, certain publications have done exactly that – and a journalist has claimed to have spoken to Wadsworth and obtained a confirmation from him that this was the case.

Wadsworth insists that is not true and that the journalist has misunderstood their conversation. He said,

They brought out the topic of antisemitism, waved it around and then put it away again because there was no substance to the accusation and the video evidence was clear. In the end I was expelled for ‘disrepute’ – which is so broad and vague in the rulebook as to be extremely liable to abuse.

In addition, the rule used to expel me didn’t exist in its current form when the events took place in 2016. You can’t apply it to things that happened before it existed.

But to be absolutely clear, I was not expelled for antisemitism.

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  1. I never understood why this hearing was allowed to take place under the old (already discredited) procedures.

    Surely no more disciplinary hearings should take place until the new procedures are in place. Besides anything else any hearings could be deemed invalid because the party has already acknowledged that the current procedures are flawed and inadequate.

    Was it done intentionally to spread dis-harmony within the party just before the local elections?

    1. If Marc Wadsworth is successful in taking legal action, the LP would be very ill advised to proceed under the old discredited system. I’m thinking in particular of the case of the suspended MP Kelvin Hopkins who has been subject to persistent negative publicity which in the normal way would surely be considered prejudicial to due process… a trial by media. However, I believe that under the current rules procedural matters cannot be taken into consideration.

      In fact, Jess Phillips ought to be concerned because she has been very outspoken in asserting his guilt on social media and in the mainstream media, calling for his expulsion from the party and parliament, even though the NCC hearing has yet to take place.

  2. ” He [Marc Wadsworth] claimed that Ruth Smeeth had admitted making incorrect claims about him but had claimed she was protected by parliamentary privilege”

    If that’s the case then defaming/slandering a senior Labour Party member and activist and then hiding behind parliamentary privilege really doesn’t say much for the honour and integrity of Ms. Smeeth. It is looking increasingly likely that Ms. Smeeth is the one who has brought the party into disrepute

    1. She made a statement to the Labour Party, telling lies. She cannot hide behind parliamentary privilege for that?
      Get here in court for defamation?
      How far does Parliamentary privileged cover?

  3. Of course it was intentional. The biggest challenge Labour face in order to win the next general election is not the Tories, its Blue Labour.
    Shame on them

  4. It’s great news that Marc Wadsworth is not letting this lie and challenging the verdict of Labours star chamber courts. He will gain a lot of publicity and with luck set a precedent for other members to take advantage of. Hopefully somebody in the party hierarchy will start to take the abuse of the alleged disciplinary system seriously – but I’ll not hold my breath.

    The high profile victims of Labours witch hunt are getting publicity, but what about the estimated 11 – 12,000 ordinary party members also in a similar position? Are they getting any attention? The short answer is no. We are the forgotten Corbynites, who would love to be able to play an active part in election of a Corbyn government, but have been denied this (in one case suspended for four years) by malicious and vindictive members who make false allegations. They think they can make libelous allegations with impunity. With luck, Marc Wadsworth will show them that that is not the case. The law of the land supersedes that of the Labour party joke book.

    The question I would ask is how much longer can the party continue to piss off a large swath of members, many of them Corbyn supporters, before it starts to affect the membership moral?

    I am really disappointed that the new General Secretary, Jennie Formby has not yet issued a statement on the many members who are in the same or similar position as Mr Wadsworth. Even if we write to the party for information, our emails go unanswered. They will not even provide FoI information to support the allegations against members. The Information Commissioners office eventually got some of the information. I’ve written to Ms Formby twice now without any answer. I have now put this in the hands of a solicitor who is pursing the allegations against me.

    I am now at the point where I am questioning if I want to be in a party that treats it’s membership like something you would wipe off your shoe. I know others who feel the same way.

  5. This is not new but I am surprised he is still working out his legal moves. I expected him to take the LP straight to court after the stitch up as soon as he had sufficient funds. I do not understand the delay, but I still support his case. A fight-back is long overdue and should have been initiated over Ken and Jackie when Momentum first washed its hands and has now stuck in its penknife.

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