Labour kicks out Hackney rebels

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The Labour Party last night expelled 17 rebel councillors in the politically troubled borough of Hackney, in east London.

The expulsions, which are believed to have been sanctioned by the party leadership, came hours before the rebels were set to force a vote at a council meeting to discuss an alleged cover-up of child sex abuse in the borough. The rebels had resigned from Hackney's official Labour group and formed Hackney New Labour Group.

The 17, who have already forged political links with Liberal Democrat and Tory councillors, said abuse claims involving a child-care worker who died last year of an Aids-related illness were "just the straw which broke the camel's back". The group demanded a full independent inquiry into the employment of Mark Trotter.

The council is expected to approve a motion for a formal independent investigation to be properly supervised by the chief executive.