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Harman: Woolas has no Labour future

Former immigration minister Phil Woolas has no future as a Labour MP even if he succeeds in overturning a court ruling which stripped him of his seat and barred him from politics for three years, deputy leader Harriet Harman has suggested.

While a disciplinary process would follow the separate decision to suspend Mr Woolas from the Labour Party, Ms Harman said the fact he had made false statements about his opponent in May's general election would not change "and that is what we are taking action on".

"It is not part of Labour's politics for somebody to be telling lies to get themselves elected," Ms Harman added.

Mr Woolas was suspended from Labour after the judgment from a specially-convened election court on Friday - the first of its kind for 99 years.

The court had heard Mr Woolas stirred up racial tensions in a desperate bid to retain his seat in Oldham East and Saddleworth, which he eventually won by 103 votes ahead of Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins, who brought the legal challenge.

His campaign team was said to have set out to "make the white folk angry" by depicting an alleged campaign by Muslims to "take Phil out".

Mr Woolas announced after the verdict that he would seek judicial review of the decision, which Labour is not supporting.

Asked on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show whether Mr Woolas would be reinstated to the party if the appeal was successful, Ms Harman said: "Well no, because whatever happens in an appeal - what might happen in an appeal, if he does appeal, it could be that they could say on the basis of the facts that the election court found it was not warranted for them to strike down the election result and disqualify him, so he might win on a legal basis.

"But it won't change the facts that were found by the election court, which was that he said things that were untrue knowing it, and that is what we are taking action on - because it is not part of Labour's politics for somebody to be telling lies to get themselves elected."

She went on: "That's not going to change, and that's what we regard as very serious and that's why we have suspended him."


From Belfast Telegraph