Frank Field vows to fight expulsion from Labour Party in courts

Veteran MP says he resigned because of 'culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation'

Frank Field says he would return to the Labour party with Jeremy Corbyn as leader: 'Why should I leave the party?'

A senior Labour MP who resigned the whip and accused Jeremy Corbyn of being “a force for antisemitism in British politics” has said he will not be triggering a by-election in his constituency.

Frank Field, who has served as the MP for Birkenhead for almost 40 years, resigned the whip on Thursday over what he described as the current perception of Labour as a “racist party”.

Mr Field said on Friday he had been told by Labour’s chief whip that he could not remain as a party member, but the veteran MP vowed to fight his expulsion in the courts if necessary.

He said: “I will dispute it until the end. I’m not being kicked out the Labour Party like that.”

Mr Field told The Independent he had always sought to abide by Labour values and added: “The idea the door is going to be shut on this continuing effort is pretty grotesque.”

He added: “I feel a huge hold on me made by Labour members who sought no fame, no favours, who built up the Labour Party so we could win the 1945 general election, and changed the nature of British society by electing a Labour government.

“The idea that one can’t remain in that tradition is a huge affront.”

Mr Field said the looming legal battle meant he would not be triggering a by-election in his Birkenhead constituency.

He said: “If this is the ruling of the Labour Party then it’s something I’m going to test to the limit.

'Immensely sad': Frank Fields on why he has resigned as Labour whip

“If I’ve got a huge legal battle on my hands I can’t be fighting a by-election.

“I’m determined not to give up membership of the Labour Party and it could be a major battle. I hope it won’t be.

“It’s going to go through the full legal process and God knows how long it’s going to take.

“It will be a judicial review to stop them carrying out what they say is the Labour constitution and it will mean court hearings and will be for a court to make a decision.”

He added: “I’m now going to be involved in a legal tussle with the Labour Party and it really does mean the idea I should do a by-election is certainly pushed into the future because I’m going to have a mega fight on my hands.”

The former minister for welfare reform, who was charged by Tony Blair to reform the welfare state by “thinking the impossible”, sensationally resigned the whip because of the “culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation” in the party.

In an interview with the Press Association, he said he did not regret the move and hoped it would “effect change”.

Earlier on Friday, he stressed his resignation of the whip over the antisemitism crisis was not part of a plot to bring down the Labour leader.

“I hope and I believe Jeremy will lead us into the next election and it is not true I’m a constant critic of Jeremy,” said Mr Field.

“That isn’t true. I believe he has the right to take us into the next election because he has won two leadership contests.

“The idea this is part of a plot or anything else is simply crazy. It is because I think he will lead us into the next election that I think these issues are urgent.”

He also denied claims he was jumping before being pushed, having lost a no-confidence vote within his constituency Labour Party after backing Brexit.

Mr Field said: “I wish to be the Labour Party candidate at the next election and, if I am not, I shall stand as an independent Labour candidate.”

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