Tim Farron asks Labour where they stand on Phil Woolas

From a party news release:

Liberal Democrat Party President-Elect Tim Farron has written to the General Secretary of the Labour Party, Ray Collins, asking him to clarify the Labour Party’s position on Phil Woolas following criticism of Harriet Harman’s decision to suspend him by a number of backbench MPs.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear General Secretary,

Firstly may I offer you my heartfelt congratulations on the news of your elevation to the House of Lords.

However, I am writing to you to raise the matter of the judgement of the Election Court in Oldham East and Saddleworth on November 5th and asking for you to act before you step down from your current post.

I am aware that a request for a Judicial Review of this decision has been made, but am also aware that Acting Labour Leader Harriet Harman said that “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. That is not going to change, and that is what we regard as very serious and that’s why we have suspended him.”

Harriet Harman’s statement must be right. Politics should be better than this and it should never again be part of an election campaign to ‘make one section of the community angry about, and fearful of, another on the basis of falsehoods’ – as was said in Court.

Hope not hate should be the basis of our politics.

I know that, following my election last weekend as Liberal Democrat Party President from 1/1/2011 and a visit to Oldham East and Saddleworth on Monday to talk to residents in the constituency, people in Oldham and Saddleworth and across the country fervently want the Labour Party to clearly say that Phil Woolas’ campaign, as highlighted in Court, was totally unacceptable and must be condemned outright.

People want the Labour Party to say, with one voice, that Phil Woolas’ campaign will not be tolerated by the Labour Party and that nothing will clear the name of Phil Woolas and Labour Party members involved in campaigning intended to divide communities along racial lines – given the facts about the campaign established at the Election Court – because the Labour Party’s principles and constitution won’t allow any other conclusion to be drawn.

If you are willing to clarify that this is where the Labour Party officially stands then we as Liberal Democrats will be immediate in our support for your stance.

I’m sure you would agree that this would be a very positive step and a fitting way to draw a line under this matter as your last act in office.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you are able to issue a statement to that effect?

Yours sincerely

Tim Farron

Member of Parliament for Westmorland and Lonsdale and Liberal Democrat Party President-Elect

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6 Comments

  • Grammar Police 19th Nov '10 - 4:55pm

    Wrong kind of judgment! ;o)

  • Firstly I think Harman was right and Woolas is a disgrace.

    However…..

    “it is not part of Labour’s politics for somebody to be telling lies to get themselves elected”

    Good quote at first sight, but what about the Lib Dem lies, not Mr Farron it must be said, but probably an ill advised quote to use if you don’t want it thrown back at you. Any lies told during a campaign should lead to the member being barred from the house and a new election being held. How that would clean up politics..

  • David Allen 19th Nov '10 - 5:45pm

    “Tim Farron asks Labour where they stand on Phil Woolas”

    Let’s hope it’s on his lying lips – or preferably on the naughty bits.

  • vince thurnell 19th Nov '10 - 6:55pm

    Up and down the country people fervently want Clegg to admit he lied during the genreal election but i doubt they’ll get an admission there either.

  • LibDemKitty 19th Nov '10 - 7:29pm

    David – I really don’t think I want to think about anyone standing on Woolas’ lips or naughty bits…

  • Peter Chivall 20th Nov '10 - 11:17pm

    Many, many LibDems have expressed their anger and bitterness over some of the Coalition policies that contradict what candidates and Leaders like Nick Clegg said before the General Election. Some of them were forced on our Ministers by circumstance or were openly agreed compromises in the Coalition agreement. And some were a complete balls-up and had their roots in a genuine policy split within the LibDems. Tuition fees are the classic here: the ‘No Fees’ policy was over-sold before the election and signing the NUS pledge gave hostage to fortune. Once the inevitable result of Browne came through, the resulting policy was hideously badly presented and gave no other conclusion to students and others than; “LibDems are liars who say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.”
    Labour supporters and the long-suppressed left are happy to repeat this half-truth, but sadly some of it sticks.
    But a LibDem candidate signing up to a policy on the hustings, and having to compromise, sometimes sharply, within a post-election Coalition, is quite different from deliberately spreading lies about your opponent’s character and actions, and stirring up racial hatred into the bargain. The law allows one, but not the other.
    This is why Phil Woolas is having to lose his seat and will be barred from standing for the next 3 years. To listen to some of those MPs and others trying to defend Woolas you would think his racist, lying leaflets were just Mothercare adverts with the prices a bit wrong.
    Some of us remember when some ‘wrong uns’ got elected in Tower Hamlets for the old Liberal Party and put out leaflets in parts of the East End which used similar racist images and language. They were expelled from the Liberal Party forthwith.
    Harriet Harman was right.

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