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Ex-Labour home secretary admits voting Lib Dem in European elections

Charles Clarke said he took a ‘one-off decision’ in the polls.

Charles Clarke (Johnny Green/PA)
Charles Clarke (Johnny Green/PA)

A former Labour home secretary has called on the party to reinstate the membership of Alastair Campbell after admitting he also voted Liberal Democrat.

Charles Clarke, a senior figure in the New Labour government, said he took a “one-off decision” to vote for the Lib Dems in the recent European Parliament elections.

Mr Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, was expelled from the party on Tuesday after he said he voted for the Lib Dems.

In a statement, Mr Clarke said Labour “should immediately withdraw its expulsion of Alastair”.

He added: “I was not aware that Alastair had voted Liberal Democrat in the European election until I heard him say so on television on Sunday evening.

This was a one-off decision because of the hopeless incoherence of Labour’s position, particularly that of Jeremy Corbyn, on Brexit Charles Clarke

“His expulsion from Labour Party membership is a disgrace and only compounds Labour’s current political difficulties.

“I also voted Liberal Democrat. This was a one-off decision because of the hopeless incoherence of Labour’s position, particularly that of Jeremy Corbyn, on Brexit.

“I have been a Labour Party member for 47 years and have never before voted anything but Labour. I was chair of the Labour Party in 2001-02.

“I have consistently argued against those who, often in understandable despair at the Labour leadership’s abandonment of Labour’s fundamental values, have either resigned from the Labour Party or joined another party.”

He said he would vote for “Labour’s excellent MP for Cambridge” in the next general election.

Mr Clarke was MP for Norwich South for 13 years before he lost the seat to the Lib Dems in 2010.

Shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis, who won the seat back for Labour in 2015, said there were “more important matters” to consider than how individuals voted.

He added: “To be quite frank, myself and most of my constituents have far more important matters to attend to than how one individual voted in the EU elections.

“Like most people in Norwich South would expect, my focus is on stopping our country crashing out of Europe, building a progressive political alliance against the rise of the far right and getting rid of this disaster movie of a Government intent on grinding the poorest and most vulnerable into the ground.”

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