Labour peer Chakrabarti told Today programme case was to be reviewed and that outcome would depend on Campbell’s ‘future intentions’. Neither was correct
Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti told Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that the expulsion of former Blair spin-doctor Alastair Campbell was to be ‘reviewed’ and that Campbell might be re-admitted to the party depending on his “future intentions” – essentially that he could be allowed back in if he promised not to do it again.
The interview has been seized upon by most mainstream news outlets.
Chakrabarti said she hoped would be resolved quickly – and claimed that this is ‘normally’ the process in such cases:
However, neither is correct.
The SKWAWKBOX understands from Labour sources that Alastair Campbell, like any member, can try to appeal the decision but no separate ‘review’ of the case is planned – and that there is ‘no appetite’ for reversing the decision among the relevant officials.
What’s more, there is no ‘normal’ opportunity for members expelled for supporting another party to be re-admitted based on promises of ‘future intentions’. Appeals can challenge evidence of the facts on which the expulsion took place, but what an ex-member might promise to do, or not do, in future is irrelevant.
The only ‘normal’ opportunity for such an expelled ex-member to return to the party is after the five-year exclusion period has elapsed – and at that point it is subject to the discretion of the NEC.
The BBC interviewer raised the red herring of comparisons to cases involving members accused of antisemitism. Such cases have to be properly investigated – and are not normally characterised by the accused going onto national media to declare what s/he did, as Campbell did.
The interviewer also raised the case of Andrew Fisher, claiming that he was not expelled after expressing support for a rival candidate because Fisher worked for Jeremy Corbyn. Fisher’s case was in 2014 and he did not start working for Corbyn until late 2015.
The interview was yet another classic case of BBC misrepresentation – and Shami Chakrabarti seems to have been tripped up by the interviewer. In any event, she missed the mark on Labour’s rules and procedures regarding ‘auto-exclusion’.
Unless Alastair Campbell can somehow demonstrate that he wasn’t the Alastair Campbell who made his now-infamous media comments, he broke Labour’s rules in a way that means he has no place in the Party for at least the next five years.
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