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Labour members to hold nationwide protests against ‘McCarthy-style purge’ of socialists from the party

Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt

LABOUR members are set to hold a week of nationwide protests against Sir Keir Starmer’s “McCarthy-style purge” of socialists from the party.

Activists will target the Labour leader’s constituency office in London tomorrow alongside other demonstrations across England, including in Liverpool, Kent and Bristol.

The demonstrations, organised by Defend the Left, are part of a “growing rebellion” against a wave of auto-expulsion letters being sent to grassroots members ahead of this weekend’s party conference in Brighton, the campaign group said. 

Labour general secretary David Evans, accused of spearheading the anti-left campaign, faces a battle to be ratified by conference delegates after calls to reject him were made by the Unite and CWU unions as well as groups including Labour Left 4 Socialism. 

A Defend The Left spokesperson said Sir Keir’s team have “declared war on the rank-and-file members.

“Every day we hear of more and more people being sent letters threatening them with automatic expulsion. This is nothing less than a McCarthy-style purge.”

US senator Joseph McCarthy led a witch-hunt against left-leaning public figures as cold war tensions reached fever pitch in the 1950s. 

After 2020’s annual meeting was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Defend the Left stressed this year’s event is the “first major opportunity for members to voice their opposition” to Sir Keir after 18 months as leader.  

The spokesperson added: “Inside the conference there will be a concerted effort to block Starmer’s choice for the party’s general secretary.

“Outside the conference members will be calling for an end to the bans and proscriptions. We are not going to accept this leadership’s blatant attack on democracy.”

Labour has been contacted for comment.

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