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Ken Loach accuses Labour Party of 'witch hunt' following expulsion

Left-wing film-maker Ken Loach. Picture by PA Photo/Entertainment One

VETERAN left-wing film-maker Ken Loach has said he has been thrown out of the Labour Party.

Loach, whose acclaimed films include The Wind That Shakes The Barley and I, Daniel Blake, claimed he was expelled for refusing to "disown those already expelled”.

He has accused Labour of a “witch-hunt”.

The move comes after reports last month of plans by Labour leader Keir Starmer to support a purge of factions supportive of his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

The former leader's backers claim Starmer has reversed moves to democratise the party.

Starmer is expected to support a proposal that comes before the party's governing tomorrow to proscribe four named far left groups.

On Twitter, 85-year-old Loach, a winner of the Palme d'Or for I, Daniel Blake, said: “Labour HQ finally decided I'm not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled. Well … I am proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimised by the purge. There is indeed a witch-hunt … Starmer and his clique will never lead a party of the people. We are many, they are few. Solidarity.”

Loach previously left the Labour party in the 1990s after three decades as a member, because he was reportedly disillusioned WITH Tony Blair. He has also been active in political parties such as Respect and Left Unity, that have presented themselves as an alternative to Labour. He rejoined the party following Corbyn's election to the leadership.

The former shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: “To expel such a fine socialist who has done so much to further the cause of socialism is a disgrace. Ken's films have exposed the inequalities in our society, have given us hope for change & inspired us to fight back. I send my solidarity to my friend and comrade.”

Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the party in October last year for saying the problem of antisemitism within Labour was “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by opponents and the media. A disciplinary panel of the NEC lifted the suspension the following month after he issued a conciliatory statement but Starmer refused to restore the whip to Corbyn.

Howard Beckett, a member of the NEC, was suspended from the party in May after he called for the home secretary, Priti Patel, to be deported on Twitter.

A Labour spokesperson said: “We are not going to comment on individual cases. As previously reported, the NEC took the decision to proscribe a number of organisations at its last meeting.”

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