Labour MP loses court case and seat


by Rumbold
6th November, 2010 at 11:47 am    

Phil Woolas, the former immigration minister, has lost a court case brought by his defeated Lib Dem rival which alleged that Mr. Woolas produced leaflets suggesting he supported extremists:

Shadow immigration minister Phil Woolas has vowed to fight on after his 2010 election win was declared void and he was suspended by the Labour party.

Mr Woolas faces a three-year parliamentary ban after being found guilty of deliberately making false statements about a Lib Dem rival in campaign literature…

He was accused of stirring up racial tensions in his campaign leaflets by suggesting Mr Watkins had pandered to Muslim militants, and had refused to condemn death threats Mr Woolas said he had received from such groups.

He was a very unpleasant individual whilst a minister, so it is no loss to parliament. Given his slanderous statements, which probably swung the election for him, I don’t think that there is a free speech issue here either, as Mr Woolas made baseless accusations against his opponent. It will be interesting to see what sort of precedent this sets though; it would be unfortunate to go down the route of defeated candidates taking their opponents to court to challenge them over exaggerations.


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  1. Don — on 6th November, 2010 at 2:54 pm  

    A thoroughly unpleasant individual who will be remembered (if at all) only for this and for being humiliated by Joanna Lumley. And not in a good way.

  2. douglas clark — on 6th November, 2010 at 4:41 pm  

    Don,

    …and for being humiliated by Joanna Lumley. And not in a good way.

    Too much information!

  3. Refresh — on 6th November, 2010 at 5:12 pm  

    Nasty nasty nasty man. Lets not stop there, what of his constituency party and his agent? The Labour Party should put in place a thorough enquiry to root out thuggery that passes for politics. And then set about proving they do not advocate race-baiting.

    Ed Miliband made a huge mistake putting Woolas on the front bench. Lets hope the NEC corrects this mis-step by expelling Woolas and his cronies. And if they have the guts, take out the master-triangulator Mandelson himself. For was it not he, who taught Woolas the dark arts in the 1995 bi-election?

  4. Don — on 6th November, 2010 at 6:21 pm  

    Refresh,

    Quite right. Was Fitzpatrick ever brought to book for “If we don’t get the white vote angry he’s gone.” ?

  5. joe90 — on 6th November, 2010 at 8:51 pm  

    Nasty is an understatement for this woolas chap. To be fair he did’nt do anything the previous and current government has not already done. Woolas has consistently played on fear, race and demonizing a community for his own political gain!

  6. Kulvinder — on 7th November, 2010 at 2:29 pm  

    it would be unfortunate to go down the route of defeated candidates taking their opponents to court to challenge them over exaggerations.

    I doubt it’ll happen as the test is quite high and the defeated candidate and/or political party that continually queries the result risk alienating the public; in this particular case it was the combination of a very very close result and the fact Woolas took what turned out to be an illegal strategy.

    That said its fairly predictable that the far right will try and use a similar approach at least once; if only to generate headlines.

    Anyone have any views on who’ll win the by-election? This sounds crazy but i think if the local and national labour party completely disassociate themselves from the entire thing, and get a local candidate who isn’t seen as someone simply parachuted in from westminster – they could well win it.

  7. Refresh — on 7th November, 2010 at 3:01 pm  

    ‘This sounds crazy but i think if the local and national labour party completely disassociate themselves from the entire thing, and get a local candidate who isn’t seen as someone simply parachuted in from westminster – they could well win it.’

    Not crazy at all. It will be Ed Miliband’s opportunity to further distance himself from the nasty wing of the party, thus:

    1. Closing the door on a Blairite challenge
    2. Create a clear divide between those who not only supported the Iraq war, but then used it to create fear and sow divisions a la Woolas, Reid, Griffin and the EDL.
    3. Deliver slap in the face, on behalf of the electorate, for the Lib-Dems
    4. Start on the long road to bringing some principles back into the Labour Party.

    Ed should do it to the theme of ‘Never Again’; and if he really cannot deliver on this then it will be time for the quite sensible, Steve Miller Band.

  8. zak — on 7th November, 2010 at 5:38 pm  

    yes his tactics were deplorable, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Labour retained the seat the way the Lib dems are trending.

    Also Labour doesn’t hold a monopoly over dirty tactics, Lib dems tend to play nasty in the north west..the difference is Woolas went too far..

    Side point being assoc with MPAC doesnt win my vote for the lib dems!

  9. Larry — on 14th November, 2010 at 7:18 pm  

    Vote UKIP.

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