Labour left-wingers hit out at party’s ‘shameful’ expulsion of Ken Loach

‘What kind of people would remove someone of [his] immense calibre?’ asks one MP

Tom Batchelor
Sunday 15 August 2021 08:55
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Related video: Ken Loach makes film about Jeremy Corbyn for the 2017 general election

Left-wing Labour voices including former leader Jeremy Corbyn have criticised an apparent move by the party to expel veteran filmmaker Ken Loach.

Mr Loach, a life-long socialist, said he had been ejected after he refused to “disown” other critics from the Labour left who had already been removed, accusing Sir Keir Starmer “and his clique” of a “witch-hunt”.

Reacting to his expulsion, Mr Corbyn said the 85-year-old “deserves our respect and solidarity” and used the hashtag “StandWithKenLoach”.

“Ken Loach has made outstanding films from Cathy Come Home to I Daniel Blake, directed brilliant broadcasts for Labour, and has always stood with the oppressed,” the Islington North MP said.

Ken Loach backs Labour leader Corbyn's 'big ideas'

Richard Burgon, who served in Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, described the apparent expulsion as “outrageous”.

He said: “Ken's films expose the deep injustices that scar our society and have inspired so many people to seek to build a better society.

“Those are the values of socialism that should be at the heart of our Party.”

Claudia Webbe, MP for Leicester East, wrote: “How is Ken Loach more dangerous than Boris Johnson and the Tories? #StandWithKenLoach.”

Jon Trickett MP tweeted: “What kind of people would remove someone of Ken Loach’s immense calibre from the Labour Party?”

Labour’s Zarah Sultana said it was “shameful” that Mr Loach, “a renowned filmmaker whose art gives voice to the impoverished and oppressed”, had been removed.

And left-wing professor Yanis Varoufakis suggested Mr Starmer had “proven his determination to purge Labour of its anti-fascist, anti-racist soul”. In an earlier tweet, the former Greek finance minister claimed that in removing Mr Loach, officials were “leaving behind an arid, soulless Labour Party”.

Mr Loach’s expulsion comes after the party last month expelled four associated groups on the grounds that they were “not compatible” with Labour values.

They included groups which had been critical of Sir Keir’s efforts to tackle antisemitism within the party's ranks.

Mr Loach, who has long expressed his socialist ideals through films such as I, Daniel Blake and Sorry We Missed You, has previously attracted criticism for referring to charges of antisemitism within Labour as “exaggerated or false”.

I, Daniel Blake - Official Trailer

Others publicly backed his removal on Saturday, including Labour MP Neil Coyle, who wrote: “Goodbye Ken Loach. You were against Labour in government and fielded people against us even 5 years after we left office, helping the Tories, but still mindless cretins pretend you were Labour ... Good riddance.”

Labour has not confirmed Mr Loach’s expulsion, with a spokesperson saying they do not “comment on individual cases”.

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