Letter: Labour witch-hunt

Sir: Years ago, the Labour Party sacked its witchfinders and rid itself of the apparatus of thought control. New Labour now has need of these old instruments, carefully retrieved from the Chamber of Horrors in the basement at Millbank Tower. The Independent Labour Network is to be proscribed, and the first of a series of trials will shortly break out in Leeds ("Labour tries to stamp out anti-Blair network", 26 January).

But the coming purge has been preceded by very much more serious action, in the rigging of the electoral system to impose closed lists in the European elections. Now it will be impossible for the Independent Labour Network to field candidates in the upcoming elections. A new official called the Registrar of Political Parties has informed us that registration is precluded under the terms of the Registration of Political Parties (Prohibited Words and Expressions) Order 1998.

The Independent Labour Party was formed in 1892, to promote candidates who would be independent of the established parties and defend the interests of the emerging Labour movement. It is now illegal for any Independent Labour Party to present such candidates, at the same time that the leader of New Labour is seeking to annul the Labour Party itself by merging it into a new Lib-Lab alliance.

New Labour seeks to nullify our traditions by coercion of its own people, and legal interdiction of all others who may offer to challenge it.

KEN COATES MEP

(Nottinghamshire North & Chesterfield, Independent Lab)

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

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