Brexit: Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell expelled from party over EU vote

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By Luke Hurst
Alastair Campbell speaking to anti-Brexit campaigners outside Westminster
Alastair Campbell speaking to anti-Brexit campaigners outside Westminster   -  Copyright  REUTERS

UK opposition party Labour has expelled its former spin doctor and lifelong member after he admitted voting for a rival party in the EU elections.

Alastair Campbell, who served as press secretary to Labour prime minister Tony Blair, revealed on TV and radio news shows he voted for the Liberal Democrats last week.

A high profile pro-remain activist, Campbell explained on Twitter that he voted for the anti-Brexit Lib Dems "without advance publicity to try to persuade Labour to do [the] right thing for country and party".

He has been a vocal critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has not advanced a clear stance on Brexit even as the UK Conservative government has descended into turmoil over the issue.

Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to announce her resignation this month after she failed to forge a way out of the European Union that satisfied MPs.

Campbell has said he will challenge his expulsion and claimed he knew of Labour MPs and staff who had told him they were not voting for Labour in the EU elections either.

One former Labour MP even tweeted he voted for the Greens in the election. "I await my expulsion papers" he added.

A number of Labour MPs also pointed out the stark difference between the swift expulsion of Campbell and the apparent lack of action on offences such as anti-Semitism and threats of violence from Labour party members.

Jess Phillips said: "He was expelled quicker than a man who threatened to kill me, quicker than a man in my CLP who denied the Holocaust, both are only still suspended."

Former Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith said: "So we can’t expel anti-semites or people who openly advocate violence or voting for fringe hard-left rivals, but we can expel @campbellclaret because he voted Lib Dem - like 1000’s of other Labour members and voters last week? What a joke."

Dawn Butler, an ally of Corbyn, said: "That's part of the Labour party rule book, it's automatic. If you admit to voting for another party other than the Labour party, then you're automatically excluded."

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