Suspended Labour donor accuses Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell of 'purge'
A Labour donor who has been suspended for comparing Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters to Nazi stormtroopers has warned that the leader’s allies are preparing to “purge” hostile elements from the party.
Michael Foster refused to row back on his comments, and instead argued the Labour leadership was putting in place a system that was “illegal and unenforceable”.
He has donated approximately £400,000 to Labour over the last 30 months but today refused to rule out backing a new party if it is set up.
The row stemmed from a Mail on Sunday article, published in August under the headline ‘Why I despise Jeremy Corbyn and his Nazi stormtroopers’, in which Mr Foster wrote about the High Court decision to allow Mr Corbyn to stand for the leadership again without collecting nominations from MPs.
"The courts decided that the rules as they stand allowed it. This decision advantaged Corbyn and his Sturm Abteilung (stormtroopers),” he wrote.
He was informed that he was being suspended from the party on grounds he had breached Labour’s rule against “abuse of any kind”.
But today he said he could have used a range of comparisons, such as the Revolutionary Guard or Red Guard.
“My whole thesis is that this is about the rule of law and the methodology of the hard left in Britain, the political hard left in Britain, is very much following a well-worn path,” Mr Foster told Radio 4’s The World This Weekend.
“It’s an imitation of all the 20th and 21st century extreme political parties when they attempt to infiltrate bona fide parties by taking over an acceptable ideology and then forming a party within a party such as Momentum.”
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell had repeatedly cited the fact that – at that time – no action had been taken against Mr Foster to argue against bakers’ union boss Ronnie Draper’s now-lifted suspension from the party.
Speaking to the same show, Mr McDonnell labelled the stormtrooper comments “appalling”, but spoke out against the suspension of Mr Foster.
“The process that has been put in place does not abide by basic standards of natural justice,” he said.
His support was not greeted with a warm welcome from Mr Foster.
“That was one of the slyest pieces of news you have had for a long time,” he said.
“You’re talking about a man who is meant to be the Shadow Chancellor, who has called repeatedly in print and on radio for my suspension.
“Now, when I have pointed out to the Labour party that they have breached their own rules and probably acted against the Human Rights Act, and him having pushed the general secretary of the Labour party to meet within 14 days his friend and supporter Ronnie Draper of the bakers’ union and had his suspension lifted within 14 days, they realise that they, that is – and I want to be clear about this – Mr Corbyn and his cadre of leaders, have put into place something that virtually is illegal and unenforceable.”
He claimed that his suspension was just an indication of left-wing supporters planning to excise other elements from within the party.
“I think what has happened to me with this suspension is a sign of what will happen,” Mr Foster added.
“They will use badly drawn – intentionally badly drawn – widely written rules to purge from the party people that do not toe the hard left line and that will go down the road all the way to ensuring that their Momentum majority and their Corbyn majority in most constituencies at the boundary changes will mean that all non hard-left Labour MPs are simply deselected.”
Asked whether he would consider funding another party rather than Labour, Mr Foster replied: “I think that is like asking Mystic Meg what is going to happen tomorrow.”