80s throwback ‘Red Ted’ Knight on the rise in Lambeth

A former leader of Lambeth Council and 80s ‘loony left’ icon is rapidly climbing the ranks in his old south London stomping ground.

A former leader of Lambeth Council and 80s ‘loony left’ icon is rapidly climbing the ranks in his old south London stomping ground.

Ted Knight was elected to Lambeth Labour’s Local Campaign Forum as trade union representative last night.

He became chair of the Gypsy Hill branch in 2016 and has since appeared alongside shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

The veteran hard-left figure was disqualified as a councillor after setting illegal budgets at the time Neil Kinnock purged the party of entryists as part of Labour’s long crawl back to electability in the wilderness years of the 1980s.

During his time leading Lambeth Council it became infamous for far-left gesture politics. Knight once flew to Nicaragua, then ruled by the Sandinistas, at the ratepayers’ expense to tell the bemused Latin Americans: “I bring you greetings from the people of Lambeth and solidarity with your revolution.”

Knight has described himself as a close friend of Jeremy Corbyn and is becoming an increasingly influential figure in Labour’s south London stronghold.

He was expelled from the Labour Party in the 1950s for being a member of the Socialist Labour League.

It went on to spawn a number of splinter groups, including Solidarity, the Workers Socialist League (later the International Socialist Group), the Workers Party, Workers Press (later the Movement for Socialism), the
Workers’ International League, the
International Communist Party, (later the Socialist Equality Party), Communist Forum (later the (Marxist Philosophy Forum), the
Marxist Party, the International Socialist League, the Communist League (1990) and the Movement for a Socialist Future.

In one iteration or another, the Socialist Labour League has fielded candidates in every general election since 1974.

The last time it did so, in 2017 (as the Workers Revolutionary Party) its five candidates received an average of 154 votes.

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