Local Labour party votes to ‘expel’ ex-chief whip to Tony Blair after she criticised Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism
- Hilary Armstrong was a chief whip under Tony Blair between 2001 and 2006
- Baroness Armstrong entered the House of Lords as life peer in July 2010
- She put her name to advert criticising Labour’s response to anti-Semitism crisis
A former chief whip under Tony Blair and critic of Jeremy Corbyn said she was ‘very sad’ that her local constituency party had voted to expel her from Labour.
Hilary Armstrong issued the statement following a meeting of the North West Durham Constituency Party, where she was MP until 2010.
Now ennobled as Baroness Armstrong, she was one of the Labour peers to put her name to a newspaper advert claiming Mr Corbyn was ‘failing the test of leadership’ over the party’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations.
Hilary Armstrong, chief whip under Tony Blair, has been expelled from her local Labour constituency
She said: ‘I’m very sad to hear this.
‘North West Durham Constituency Labour Party always used to be a place where differing opinions were respected.
This week she attached her name to an advert criticising the party leadership for their handling of the antisemitism crisis
‘This sadly shows how far the party has departed from its roots.
‘I’m not going to shy away from demanding that the party leadership take real and decisive action to rid anti-Semitism from the Labour Party.’
Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) do not have the power to expel people from the national party so the vote has no formal standing.
But it is a sign of the power struggle for the heart of Labour going on behind the scenes.
Redcar Labour MP Anna Turley tweeted: ‘If this is true it is disgraceful.
‘Hilary has served the Labour Party with commitment & distinction for decades, as a former social worker, particularly for the vulnerable.
‘She is Labour to her marrow and if there is no place for her in it, it is done.
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott backed Baroness Armstrong, tweeting: ‘this is astonishing – Hilary Armstrong has done more for the Labour Party than anyone I know, supported women to become active & get elected – she is Labour to her core has true Labour values I am proud to call her a friend – words fail me.’
And Pat Glass, her Labour successor in North West Durham, tweeted: ‘I cannot believe that @NWDurhamLabour have passed a motion to expel former MP @hilaryarmstrong but it seems it is true.
Numerous MPs spoke out against the expulsion, including former Labour MP Pat Glass
‘She has broken no rules unless free speech is now banned in the @UKLabour’.
Baroness Armstrong was chief whip under Mr Blair from 2001 to 2006.