Jeremy Corbyn’s office has denied that a staff member contacted Marc Wadsworth to offer support the day before he was expelled from the Labour Party for behaviour deemed “grossly detrimental to the party”.
At a disciplinary hearing this week, Mr Wadsworth was found by the party’s national constitutional committee (NCC) to have breached rule 2.1.8 of the Labour handbook.
He was initially suspended after confronting Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of the 2016 Chakrabarti report into Labour antisemitism.
Ms Smeeth fled the event in tears after Mr Wadsworth accused her of working closely with the Daily Telegraph.
After his expulsion, Mr Wadsworth said Mr Corbyn’s office called him to say that “they had been working behind the scenes, that what I said wasn’t antisemitic”.
Sources close to the Labour leader insisted a member of his staff did not offer support or advice, but confirmed contact was made to ensure the hearing was not disrupted by Mr Wadsworth’s supporters.
They added that Mr Wadsworth expressed disappointment that Mr Corbyn had not offered his support, or responded to attempts to contact him.
A Labour source said: “It is categorically untrue that a member of staff called to offer Marc Wadsworth support.
“He did not claim support from Jeremy during his NCC hearing.”
Rule 2.1.8 relates to conduct which is “is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party”.
The current iteration of the rule, brought in at the 2017 Labour conference, expands to include hostility or prejudice based, among others, on “race; religion or belief”, including but not limited to “incidents involving racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia”.
But because Mr Wadsworth’s expulsion related to an incident in June 2016, he was only found to have breached the original rule 2.1.8. It is unclear whether Mr Wadsworth had been accused of antisemitism.
Meanwhile Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, said the Labour Party had “weaponised” the Windrush scandal to distract from its own row over antisemitism.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, Mr Gove said: “There’s a campaign against the Government and against the Home Secretary.
“What’s not surprising is that this happens at the same time as the Labour party is mired in allegations of its failure to deal with antisemitism.
"And the focus... is intended to distract from the difficulties that the Labour Party faces with handling prejudice in its own ranks. Labour are attempting to weaponise this. I think that is quite wrong.”
Diane Abbott, the shadow Home Secretary, denied that Labour had played "party politics" over Windrush, saying she would "speak up on this issue whatever party I belonged to, or if I didn't belong to any party at all".
She said: "This is not party politics for me. This is my parents' generation, and they have been treated in a shameful way."