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Alastair Campbell: Labour frontbenchers say my expulsion from party is 'bonkers'

Alastair Campbell: Labour frontbenchers say my expulsion from party is 'bonkers'

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Alistair Campbell has claimed senior Labour frontbenchers have told him his expulsion from the party for voting Lib Dem at the EU elections is “bonkers”.

Tony Blair's former spin doctor said Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer had “clearly spelt out to me” that the decision should be reviewed, while others had spoken out in public.

But a source close to Mr McDonnell insisted the pair had not spoken since Mr Campbell was booted out of the party earlier this week.

The anti-Brexit campaigner rold Radio Four last Saturday that he had plumped for the Lib Dems in protest at the failure of Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum.

He was expelled by party bosses on Tueaday - sparking a row in Labour ranks and prompting other senior figures, including Cherie Blair, Charles Clark and Bob Ainsworth, to reveal they also backed the Lib Dems.

Appearing on Radio 4's Today programme on Friday, Mr Campbell said his expulsion - which he is appealing against - was “nonsense” and a distraction from “the real decisions that leaders have to make” on Brexit.

“I have had it clearly spelt out to me from Keir Starmer, from John McDonnell... I’ve heard it publicly from Shami Chakrabarti, from Tom Watson, Emily Thornberry... They all think this decision is bonkers and they all think it should be reviewed,” he said.

But a source close to Mr McDonnell told PoliticsHome: “John has not communicated with Alastair Campbell since his expulsion. John can’t say anything that could prejudice any appeal.”

Elsewhere, Mr Campbell said he will be arguing that the party discriminated against him, since numerous other members who have said they voted Lib Dem have not been expelled.

And he blasted Mr Corbyn for listening only to his close advisors on Brexit, rather than the Labour membership and wider public.

“People can’t take their members and supporters and voters for granted and Jeremy Corbyn needs to decide: Is he going to listen to the many - the public, the members, the MPs - or listen to the few: Seamus Milne, Karie Murphy, Len McCluskey and Andrew Murray.

“They are the people driving this and they are the people risking oblivion for the Labour party.”

He added: "The Labour party has not had a clear, coherent, credible position on Brexit and until it gets that it’s not going to win back the support of many people that it has lost."

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