Labour expels groups critical of work to tackle anti-Semitism in party
Labour has expelled four associated groups after its ruling committee decided they were “not compatible” with the party’s values.
According to multiple reports, the organisations – Resist, Socialist Appeal, Labour in Exile Network and Labour Against the Witchhunt – were proscribed during a National Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday.
Insiders said some of the groups were directed by people who had been expelled from the party, while others had described work to tackle anti-Semitism as a “witch-hunt” or a “smear” campaign.
The Mirror, which broke the story last week, said as many as 1,000 members could see their membership revoked as a result of the purge.
The move was agreed in a nine-hour meeting in which the full scale of the party’s dire financial state was also laid bare, with a voluntary redundancy process under way for staff.
On the expulsions, a Labour spokeswoman said: “Labour is a broad, welcoming and democratic party and we are committed to ensuring it stays that way.
“The NEC has decided that these organisations are not compatible with Labour’s rules or our aims and values.”
The Jewish Labour Movement welcomed the ruling, stating that it sent a “strong political signal” over the party’s desire to tackle anti-Semitism under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership.
The proposal to expel far-left members had been criticised beforehand by former leader Jeremy Corbyn – who is still suspended following his reaction to the equalities watchdog report into anti-Semitism within the party – and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
Mr McDonnell said it was “bizarre” and “desperate” to oust people when most of those targeted had “left already”, and called for the restoration of the whip to Mr Corbyn.
According to the Labour List website, general secretary David Evans attended the NEC meeting to give an update about the party’s financial position.
He reportedly told the committee “we don’t have any money”, with sources telling the website that party reserves – once in rude health due to a membership surge under Mr Corbyn – are down to only one month’s payroll.
Mr Evans reportedly said Labour’s bank balance had suffered due to lost members and requiring central funds to deal with anti-Semitism cases.
The party confirmed it does have financial pressures and had on Tuesday started a voluntary severance scheme (VSS).
“This is not an easy decision and we recognise it will be a very difficult time for staff and we will fully engage and consult with them and the trade unions throughout,” a party spokeswoman said.
“We are reshaping our party’s operation with a view towards being fighting fit for upcoming campaigns and the next general election.”