Former member of the left-wing Miltant faction and deputy leader of Liverpool council, Derek Hatton, has been readmitted to the Labour Party – 34 years after he was expelled.
Reports of his approval back into Labour’s ranks came after seven MPs resigned from the party on Monday – the biggest schism in the party since the formation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 1980s.
Mr Hatton was thrown out of the party by Labour’s former leader Neil Kinnock, for belonging to the Militant faction and for overseeing an illegal “deficit” budget in protest at Margaret Thatcher‘s Conservative government.
He caused controversy in the 1980s over the move, and clashed with the Labour leadership over stunts such as sending redundancy notices to council workers via taxis.
According to the Daily Mirror, his return to the party was approved during a meeting of the party’s disputes panel – overseen by Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC).
He told the newspaper he was not prepared to discuss “particulars” of what had gone on but that the “processes have happened”, adding: “I am a member of the Labour Party.”
He continued: “During that 30-odd years that I was expelled, I never once stood against, supported, voted against any Labour candidate.
“It’s very topical it should be at the time when seven members resigned today because obviously there were times when it was very tempting to go a different way – during the Iraq War, loss of Clause IV, many things – but I believed then as I believe now the Labour Party is the political arm of the trade union movement.”
The left-winger claimed to have rejoined Labour during the party’s annual conference in 2018, but at the time no decision had been made on his membership.
The 71-year-old has previously cited the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn for rejoining the party, and reacting to the splintering of MPs on Monday, Mr Hatton said: “For them to leave now is at best hypocritical and at worst dishonest.”
He told the Liverpool Echo: “All seven of them increased their majorities standing on a Jeremy Corbyn manifesto.”