Firebrand Derek Hatton backs Corbyn after claiming to have rejoined…

Hard-left firebrand Derek Hatton says he has been let back into Labour 30 years after he was kicked out for being a member of the Communist Militant wing

  • Derek Hatton was expelled from Labour in the purge of the Militant tendency
  • He claims to have now been accepted back into the fold under Jeremy Corbyn
  • His comments will fuel fears that the hard left is seizing control of Labour 

The hard-left firebrand Derek Hatton says he has been let back into the Labour Party 33 years after he was expelled for being in the Communist Militant wing.

The ex deputy leader of Liverpool Council was expelled by then Labour leader Neil Kinnock as part of a purge of revolutionary socialists who had swept into the party.

He helped lead the notorious Labour Liverpool council which set an illegal budget in protest as spending cuts imposed by Margaret Thatcher. 

In a famous speech, Mr Kinnock faced down the faction at his 1985 party conference speech where he blasted the ‘grotesque’ practice of the council of ‘hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers’.

Mr Hatton said he applied to rejoin to support Jeremy Corbyn, and his membership will fuel fears the hard-left is in the midst of a total takeover of the party.

Labour MP Mike Gapes, who was at the 1985 Bournmouth conference, told MailOnline he is alarmed by the flood of ex Communists who have seized the levers of power in Labour.

He said: ‘I think Derek Hatton is an irrelevant, self publicising has-been.

‘I am more concerned about the people with far left, ex Communist and Trotskyist politics who are in senior positions in the party structures.’ 

Hard-left former politician Derek Hatton has said he is ‘looking forward to getting involved’ in Labour politics after claiming to have rejoined the party

Mr Hatton said he applied to rejoin to support Jeremy Corbyn (pictured on stage at Labour Party conference in Liverpool on Wednesday) and his membership will fuel fears the hard-left is in the midst of a total takeover of the party

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Mr Hatten was previously blocked from rejoining Labour in 2015 by former general secretary Iain McNicol.

But Mr McNichol left his post earlier this year as part of a sweeping reshuffle which saw Corbyn loyalists take control of the party’s senior positions.

Who is Derek Hatton and what was the Militant tendency?

Derek Hatton was a famous left-wing firebrand and socialist in the 1980s.

He was a member of the Militant tendency – a communist group which called for revolution and had penetrated the Labour Party at the time.

He was deputy leader of Liverpool City Council in the mid 1980s, when the struggle between the hard-left and moderates were battling for the soul of the Labour Party.

The Militant-controlled council set an illegal budget in protest at local government spending cuts by Margaret Thatcher’s government.

One tactic employed by the council  was to send redundancy notices to council workers in the city by taxi .

The move was described as ‘grotesque chaos’ by then Labour leader Neil Kinnock, who denounced it from the main stage as he gave his party speech in Bournemouth in 1985.

Mr Hattin and other members of Militant and similar hard-left groups were expelled by Mr Kinnock as part of a purge of the hard-left.

But some have floated back towards the party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership. 

Mr Hatten has now claimed that he has had his membership confirmed ‘in writing’ by the party.

Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee – which is also controlled by Corbynistas – would have to approve his membership application as he has previously been expelled. 

Mr Hatton’s claims come after Labour shadow minister Dawn Butler used a speech at her party’s women’s conference last week for praising the Militant-led Liverpool council.

She said: ‘Local councils have seen nearly 50 per cent of their funding cut – I want to give a shout out to all the councillors fighting every day against these Tory cuts.’

She added: ‘We are in Liverpool, where over 30 years ago, the council stood up to Thatcher and said, “Better to break the law than break the poor.” ’

Mr Hatton, appearing on BBC News, said he reapplied in order to voice his support for Jeremy Corbyn.

He said: ‘I am a big supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. 

‘I think the most important thing now that we’ve all got in front of us is to get him elected into Downing Street and a Labour government and get rid of this rotten Tory Government that we have in power.’

And he also claimed that the anti-Semitism crisis which has been tearing Labour apart has been overblown in order to criticise Mr Corbyn.

His remarks will infuriate Labour moderates and Jewish MPs who have been met with threats and abuse for daring to speak out against the racism festering among some of Mr Corbyn’s supporters. 

Mr Hatton said: ‘I think the unfortunate thing is that quite a lot of people in the Tory Party, in the press and some, unfortunately, in the Labour Party have used the anti-Semitism argument as a way of having a go at Jeremy Corbyn.

‘In my opinion, I don’t believe that there is a massive problem. I walk around the street, people talk to me and I tell you I can’t remember the last time someone would talk to me about the problem of anti-Semitism, even Jewish friends of mine.

‘People talk to me about unemployment, low wages, bad housing, they talk about those sort of issues.’

Derek Hatton defiantly displays his 1986 membership card after being expelled from the Labour Party for membership of the Militant Tendency (Liverpool Daily Post and Echo/PA)

Asked about the current status of his membership in light of the party’s comments, he said: ‘What the official line from the Labour Party is, is that they do not comment on individual memberships and I understand that. 

‘The reality is I’m a member, I have it in writing and there isn’t a question about it.’

He and other members of the Trotskyite group known as the Militant Tendency were widely blamed for making Labour unelectable.

Asked whether he was still a Militant, Mr Hatton said: ‘I’ve always been socialist. I was a socialist then, a socialist during the time, and I’m a socialist now.

‘Would I support a general strike? That’s like saying you know, would you support something out the blue? The reality is you don’t know; if the timing was right and the trade union movement was supporting it, of course you would.’

A Labour spokesman said: ‘We don’t comment on individual memberships.’

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