Film-maker Ken Loach says he has been expelled from Labour

Labour MPs branded the expulsion “a disgrace” but it was welcomed by Jewish leaders


British film director Ken Loach gestures during a photocall for the film "Sorry We Missed You" at the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 17, 2019. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP) (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Film director Ken Loach says he has been expelled from the Labour party.

The 85-year-old revealed on Twitter on Saturday that he had been kicked out because he would not “disown those already expelled”.

Mr Loach attacked the Labour party over a “witch hunt” and hard-left Labour MPs branded the move “a disgrace” but it was welcomed by Jewish leaders.

The expulsion follows the proscribing of four hard-left groups by Labour’s ruling NEC last month, including LAW an organisation that Mr Loach sponsors.

In his statement, Mr Loach said: “Labour HQ finally decided I’m not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled.”

He added he was “proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimised by the purge”.

“There is indeed a witch-hunt,” he said, “Starmer and his clique will never lead a party of the people. We are many, they are few. Solidarity.”

Mr Loach, who left the Labour party under Tony Blair’s leadership, joined again under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: “To expel such a fine socialist who has done so much to further the cause of socialism is a disgrace.”

Labour MP Jon Trickett, posted: “What king of people would remove someone of Ken Loach’s calibre from the Labour party?”

And Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, described the expulsion as “shameful”.

But Mike Katz, JLM national chairman, said: “Good riddance.  Holocaust inversion, tropes about a lobby controlling media and politics, claims Jews exploit the Holocaust for political ends.  If you are defending Loach as a good socialist, you need to take a long hard look at your definition of socialism.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said expulsing Mr Loach was "the correct decision."

She said in a statement he had "tarnished his legacy as a film-maker by repeatedly standing with antisemites.”

Coverage of his expulsion prompted St Peter’s alumnus Benjamin Seifert to call on the Oxford college to consider reviewing Mr Loach’s honorary fellowship.

The filmmaker is also an alumnus and was invited to speak at the college earlier this year, sparking anger in the community.  

Speaking to the JC on Sunday, Mr Seifert, who is a barrister, said: "In the case of Ken Loach, who was really at the forefront in trying to prevent people from complaining about the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, is it appropriate for him to have a position within an academic institution? I think it's important to have that debate.”

St Peter’s College did not return the JC’s request for comment.

Mr Loach, whose work includes the films ‘Kes’ and ‘I, Daniel Blake’ has faced accusations of antisemitism, which he denies.

In 1987, London’s Royal Court Theatre dropped his production of Jim Allen’s controversial play Perdition, which accused some Zionists of collaborating with the Nazis.

He has also courted controversy for saying in response to questions about Holocaust denial that “history is for us all to discuss”.

He claimed there was “no validity” to accusations of antisemitism within Labour and insisted they were designed to undermine Corbyn’s leadership.  In 2018 he called for the deselection of Labour MPs who attended the Enough is Enough protest against antisemitism.

Labour said it would not comment on individual cases

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