Far-left Labour groups have slammed the expulsion of Marc Wadsworth over accusations of antisemitism, with some demanding a legal challenge and the expulsion of moderate MPs.
Labour MP Chris Williamson immediately turned his fire on Labour’s ruling National Constitution Committee, claiming that Wadsworth had been “besmirched” by its “absurd ruling” and that the verdict had “all the hallmarks of predetermination”.
He was joined by Momentum councillor Noah Tucker, touted as a potential future leader of the politically divided Haringey Council, who branded Wadsworth’s expulsion “a disgrace”. Tucker has previously defended Wadsworth’s Labour Against the Witch Hunt colleague Jackie Walker, saying in a 2016 blog post that complaints over her claim that Jews were the “chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade” were “part of an orchestrated campaign” to “undermine and isolate the Labour leadership in preparation for an internal party coup against Jeremy Corbyn”.
Pro-Corbyn group Jewish Voice for Labour joined Labour Against the Witch Hunt and Grassroots Black Left, both of which count Wadsworth as a member, to call for an immediate challenge to the expulsion. By the time of writing, a crowdfunding campaign promoted by Wadsworth and these groups had raised over £12,000 to bring a legal challenge against the Labour Party, now headed by Corbyn-ally Jennie Formby.
Other key members of the far-left took to social media to call for the expulsion of moderate MPs. Novara Media’s Aaron Bastani suggested that he would launch an official complaint against London Assembly Member Tom Copley for referring to him as “Labour Friends of the Ayatollah” over his support for the Iranian government. Former Corbyn press officer Matt Zarb-Cousin suggested that Labour MPs should be expelled if Wadsworth’s charge of “bringing the Labour Party into disrepute” was enough to see him expelled. Mark Calderbank, the editor of left blog Red Pepper, also suggested that “if bringing the party into disrepute is an expulsion offence I can think of a few good candidates for the boot”.
Other Labour members went further. Terence Kenyon, who was suspended by the party for referring to “fascist” “shithole” Israel before being readmitted in 2016, called Wadsworth’s accuser Ruth Smeeth MP an “Israeli apologist and Corbyn smearer” who “should have been tossed out of the party – not Wadsworth”. One member of the Labour Party Forum Facebook group that has been called a “cesspit of antisemitism” claimed the Wadsworth row was “about a foreign infiltration orchestrating the downfall of Corbyn with help from the pro-Zionist stooges”.
The reaction to Wadsworth’s expulsion will raise questions over Labour’s ability to deal with its huge backlog of antisemitism cases when each new case is greeted with claims that the problem is a result of “smears”.