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.
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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