Labour candidate in bombing smear claim

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The Independent Online
A Labour candidate claims a vendetta is being mounted to deselect him because, more than 30 years ago, he gave evidence against an anti- apartheid comrade-in-arms who was executed, writes Peter Victor.

John Lloyd, 54, a barrister, who has been selected to fight the Tory- held marginal of Exeter, said his testimony against his former friend is something he deeply regrets but that he had no choice. He maintains the dredging up of the details 30 years later in an issue of the left- wing newspaper Tribune, published today, is part of a campaign to smear him.

"It is something I regret deeply," he said. "It is not something I live with with any complacency. But I had been tortured, and gave evidence against the man. What is happening is a distressing personal vendetta which cannot have any political content."

Mr Lloyd, a councillor in Exeter since 1981, confirmed that he gave evidence against John Harris, who was convicted of planting a bomb at Johannesburg station, killing one and injuring others. Harris was executed on 1 April, 1965.

Mr Lloyd, a South African citizen at the time, told PA News that he was, like Harris, a member of the African Resistance Movement in the 1960s. "I had planted bombs but only on symbolic targets like radio masts and electricity pylons. I was a very small fish. I was the bloke who drove the car, basically."