Labour and black rights activist Marc Wadsworth, who played a key role in supporting the family of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence through their campaign, is about to formally initiate legal action against the Labour Party.
Wadsworth was expelled over an exchange with Labour MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of Labour’s Chakrabarti report – widely misreported by the media and Ms Smeeth’s supporters as on grounds of antisemitism, but this is untrue as the party downgraded the charge to one of disrepute after it became apparent that widely-available video of the incident showed no antisemitic behaviour.
Some forty MPs marched with Ms Smeeth to the disciplinary hearing in what was attacked by Wadsworth’s supporters as a group of white people attending the ‘lynching’ of a black man.
Wadsworth has consistently denied any wrongdoing. The video evidence will allow readers to make up their own mind.
A letter from Wadsworth’s legal team will be sent to the party tomorrow, with formal proceedings expected to begin next week. The team includes QC Martin Westgate, who successfully represented Labour members in their fight to overturn Labour’s decision, under former general secretary Iain McNicol, to exclude them from voting in the party’s leadership election, as well as solicitors from the highly regarded firm Birnberg Peirce. Wadsworth is crowdfunding his legal costs.
Mr Wadsworth told the SKWAWKBOX:
I’m taking this step with the utmost reluctance and only after the party has confirmed that it will not negotiate. The video footage shows that I did not abuse Ruth Smeeth and the disrepute charge is unfounded and unjust.
Some commentators have complained that Margaret Hodge was notified of an investigation by the party too quickly after her tirade against Jeremy Corbyn – well I was expelled less than a day after the incident at the Chakrabarti launch and only reinstated when my lawyers pointed out the party had acted unlawfully, but even then I was immediately suspended.
My case is going to be a test case for the many members who have been falsely accused and unfairly treated. It’s just a pity that it’s necessary at all.
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