Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

UK Labour Party expels former spin doctor Alastair Campbell

Tony Blair’s press secretary played a crucial role in selling the Iraq War to the public

Alastair Campbell has been a staunch supporter of staying the European Union. Jonathan Player for The National in 2010.
Alastair Campbell has been a staunch supporter of staying the European Union. Jonathan Player for The National in 2010.

Tony Blair’s former press secretary, Alastair Campbell, has been expelled from the Labour Party after he revealed he voted for the rival Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament elections.

Mr Campbell, who has long campaigned to stay in the European Union, said he had been frustrated at Labour’s approach to Brexit and its wider policy making.

On Twitter, he said he was “sad and disappointed” to be expelled “particularly on a day leadership seems to be moving to the right place on Brexit”.

Labour leadership has previously been non-committal over the idea of a second referendum on staying in the EU, but appears to have shifted its stance in recent days after a mauling in the European elections. The Liberal Democrats surged after promising another vote on staying in the EU.

"Support for another political party or candidate is incompatible with Party membership," a Labour party spokesperson said.

"The Lib Dems cannot and will not end austerity. They cannot bring our country together or be trusted to deliver on their promises," it added.

Mr Campbell, who played an instrumental role in selling the Iraq War to the public as Mr Blair’s spin doctor, said he intended to appeal his removal after consulting with lawyers.

“I am and always will be Labour. I voted Lib Dem, without advance publicity, to try to persuade Labour to do right thing for country/party,” he tweeted.

Mr Campbell said Labour members voting against the party was not a new development, citing the precedent of current leader Jeremy Corbyn who regularly revolted against Mr Blair when he was prime minister.

“It was a very, very strange feeling,” Mr Campbell told the BBC’s election night coverage on Sunday.

“I just felt on this issue, at this time, I think the Labour Party has let its own supporters down, I think its let its own members down and I think its let the country down in the way that it’s failed properly to devise a policy that the party and country can unite around and the way it failed to campaign,” he said.

Updated: May 28, 2019 04:17 PM

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