Letter: Labour on the fringes

Sir: Professor Tomlinson (letter, 17 December) at least has a membership card for the Labour Party which he can return in disgust at the vote on single-parent benefit.

If he lived in Northern Ireland, he would not be permitted the opportunity of joining Labour in the first place - although if he lived in Bangkok, Brisbane or Buenos Aires he would be welcome as an overseas member.

"New" Labour has still not addressed one hang-up of Old Labour. It still adamantly refuses to accept into membership voters in this part of the UK even if they are long-serving party members of old - when living on your side of the North Channel.

Labour's sympathisers over here are asked to support a national government in the election of which they can have no part. When they point out this gross injustice they are asked to support, instead, Labour's "sister" party, the SDLP, although if that party achieved its nationalist aims they would not be UK voters at all.