WATCH: John McDonnell calls for review of Labour rules after Alastair Campbell booted out for voting Lib Dem
Labour's John McDonnell has said the party's rules "need reviewing" after former communications chief Alastair Campbell was kicked out for voting for the Liberal Democrats.
The Shadow Chancellor called for a rethink of Labour's "auto-exclusion" policy amid a row over the decision to oust Tony Blair's former spin doctor.
Mr Campbell revealed that he had been expelled from the party last month after declaring that he had voted for the Liberal Democrats at the European elections.
Under Labour's rules, any member who joins, stands for an election for or supports "a political organisation other than an official Labour group" will "automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member".
The auto-exclusion rules also cover candidates who have been convicted of a serious criminal offence.
But some critics of Mr Campbell's exclusion have contrasted the swift expulsion of the ex-communications chief with the party's treatment of members accused of anti-semitism.
Speaking to ITV's Peston programme, Mr McDonnell said the auto-exclusion rules had been "inherited from Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair's reign".
"And the auto-exclusion, I think, does need reviewing," he added.
"Because there's certain things in our party that you're charged with doing and it results in auto-exclusion.
"There's other things that possibly are more serious and that procedure doesn't apply.
"So I think there is a need to review those procedures."
The comments came as Mr Campbell said he had hired lawyers to challenge his expulsion.
He took to Twitter to say he had received "no acknowledgement" from Labour six days after lodging "a detailed written appeal" against the decision to expel him.
He said: "The only communication I have had from the party was a complaint about one of my tweets. More in sorrow than in anger I have now instructed lawyers to take up the case on my behalf, and the party will be hearing from them shortly."
A batch of Labour grandees rallied around Mr Campbell after his exclusion, with ex-Home Secretary Charles Clarke, former MP Fiona McTaggart and ex-Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth revealing that they too had voter for parties other than Labour at the European elections.