Labour activist Gerry Downing expelled from party over 9/11 comments

Mr Downing's comments were raised by David Cameron during PMQs earlier in the day

Ian Johnston
Thursday 10 March 2016 00:28
Comments
Gerry Downing's blog post on the Socialist Fight website
Gerry Downing's blog post on the Socialist Fight website

A hard-left Labour supporter who said attacks like 9/11 should never be “condemned” has been expelled from the party, officials have said.

The comments by Gerry Downing, who had been kicked out last year for publicly supporting another party but then readmitted, were raised by David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions earlier on Wednesday.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did not immediately respond but his aides later said the decision to allow Mr Downing back into the party was being reconsidered.

And then late on Wednesday a party spokeswoman told the Press Association: “Following further evidence that has come to light Gerry Downing has now been excluded from the Labour Party by the NEC panel.”

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at PMQs on Wednesday

In the exchange in the Commons, Mr Cameron told Mr Corbyn: “I was completely appalled to see yesterday that the Labour Party have readmitted someone to their party who says that the 9/11 suicide bombers, and I quote, ‘must never be condemned’, and belongs to an organisation that says ‘we defend the Islamic State [Isis] in Syria and Iraq’.

“These are appalling views and I hope that the Leader of the Opposition will throw this person out of the party rather than welcome him in.”

The Labour MP John Woodcock then wrote to the Labour leader saying Mr Downing’s views were “sickening and bring our party into disrepute”.

“Allowing this man to be a member of the Labour Party insults the memory of those who died in the 11 September terror attacks and the British servicemen and women who gave their lives in the Afghanistan conflict that followed,” he added.

On Twitter, Mr Downing responded to a question asking “Are you seriously an apologist for 9/11 and a supporter of Daesh [Isis]?” by saying: “No, neither. I don't support bombing them by US.”

In his blog post, headlined “The social and political meaning of 9/11 conspiracy theory” and published in January, Mr Downing attacked “imperialist ideology and its ‘peace, democracy and justice’ bullshit whilst they are raining death and destruction from the skies on hundreds of thousands of the world’s poorest”.

“One violence is that of the slave and the other is that of the slave-owner. One is progressive, no matter how distorted its actions are, and must never be ‘condemned’, imperialism is the violence that holds the whole planet, or almost the whole planet, in thrall, and that violence can never be supported by serious Marxists in any circumstances,” he wrote.

“That is the entirely understandable motivation for 9/11 and suicide bombers.”

Mr Downing told BBC News that he had been trying to explain the 9/11 bombers’ motivation and had not been “agreeing with what they were doing”.

“I don't support the politics of Isis, they are vile barbarians,” he said.

His blog was written on the Socialist Fight website. In a section called “Where We Stand”, the website says “we defend the 'Islamic State' in Syria and Iraq against the bombing of US imperialism but do not ally with them against the Kurdish defenders of Kobane and Rojava (Western Kurdistan)”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in