The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


Woolas has no future in Labour, says Harman

Deputy Labour leader says that disgraced minister will not be reinstated even if he wins his appeal.

Harriet Harman has said that Phil Woolas has no future as a Labour MP even if he succeeds in overturning the court ruling that stripped him of his seat last week.

Woolas has announced that he is taking the case to judicial review, which the Labour Party is not supporting.

Asked on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show today whether he would be reinstated to the party if the appeal was successful, Harman said:

Well no, because whatever happens in an appeal – what might happen in an appeal, if he does appeal, it could be that they could say on the basis of the facts that the election court found it was not warranted for them to strike down the election result and disqualify him, so he might win on a legal basis.

But it won't change the facts that were found by the election court, which was that he said things that were untrue knowing it, and that is what we are taking action on – because it is not part of Labour's politics for somebody to be telling lies to get themselves elected.

It is good to see Labour's top command separating itself from Woolas's disgraceful election campaign, in which he attempted to stir up racial tension in his seat of Oldham East and Saddleworth with inflammatory leaflets.

The case is all the more embarrassing for the party as he had been appointed shadow Home Office minister by Ed Miliband, a spectacular misjudgement, given Woolas's ongoing court case.

The specially convened election court was the first of its kind in 99 years.

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