Peace activist Wolfgang is elected on to Labour NEC committee

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Indy Politics

Walter Wolfgang, the veteran peace activist ejected from the Labour conference last year for heckling the Foreign Secretary over Iraq, has been elected to the party's ruling body.

Activists voted him on to the National Executive Committee in one of the six places reserved for constituency members. He will be entitled to sit alongside Tony Blair at NEC meetings and sit on the platform at the conference in Manchester next month.

Mr Wolfgang, 83, a Labour member for 58 years, said he would argue for immediate withdrawal of British troops from Iraq and against replacing the Trident nuclear weapon system. He also denounced the Government for failing to demand a ceasefire in Lebanon.

He promised to champion ordinary party members who felt sidelined by the "control-freakery" of the Labour leadership. He said: "Democracy has been deliberately eroded by the Blairites. But grassroots members are very much aware this Government's foreign policy has gone wrong and supporters in the country feel the Labour Government isn't on their side."

Mr Wolfgang called for the Prime Minister's resignation and doubted whether Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, was the right man to replace him. He said he would support a left-wing contender for the leadership such as Michael Meacher or John McDonnell.

Stewards manhandled Mr Wolfgang from the Brighton conference in September last year after he shouted "nonsense" during a speech by Jack Straw, then Foreign Secretary. He was later detained by police under anti-terrorism powers when he tried to walk back into the conference.

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