UK Politics

Labour suspends donor for 'Corbyn team Nazi comparison'

Michael Foster Image copyright Reuters

Labour has suspended a prominent donor over an article he wrote in which Jeremy Corbyn's leadership bid team were likened to Nazi stormtroopers.

Michael Foster wrote that Mr Corbyn and his team had "no respect for others and worse, no respect for the rule of law".

Labour said the suspension was for allegedly breaching election rules which ban "abuse of any kind".

Mr Foster said he had been highlighting Mr Corbyn's "leadership cadre" and did not use the word Nazi himself.

The article for the Mail on Sunday was headlined: "'Why I despise Jeremy Corbyn and his Nazi stormtroopers', by Jewish Labour donor".

It was published after the High Court ruled against Mr Foster's attempt to stop Labour from allowing Mr Corbyn to automatically stand for re-election as leader.

In the article he wrote: "To me, respect for the rule of law is fundamental to a democracy. Once political parties believe they are above the law it ends with all opposition silenced, whether it is my grandparents in Dachau, or the Left in Erdogan's Turkey rounded up and held uncharged in prison.

"The courts decided that the rules as they stand allowed it. This decision advantaged Corbyn and his Sturm Abteilung (stormtroopers)..."

But Mr Foster said the word "Nazi" was not included in his article and had been added to its headline by the Mail on Sunday.

'Abuse ban'

He maintained his remarks clearly referred to Mr Corbyn's "leadership cadre", which could also be likened to the "Pretorian Guard or Revolutionary Guard or Red Guard - a group there to secure the leader and his political plans".

Labour said he was suspended on 7 September because he was alleged to have breached a rule governing the leadership election which bans "abuse of any kind by members or supporters".

In a letter signed by general secretary Iain McNicol, the party said the claim related to an article written by Mr Foster for the Mail on Sunday last month. It did not set out a timescale for its investigation but he cannot take part in the leadership vote until the issue is resolved.

Mr Foster, who has donated more than £400,000 to the party in the past two-and-a-half years, is a former showbusiness agent whose clients have included actor Sacha Baron Cohen and radio host Chris Evans.

He unsuccessfully stood in the 2015 general election for the seat of Camborne and Redruth.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has previously claimed Labour's HQ was undertaking a "rigged purge" of Mr Corbyn's supporters after the leader of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union, Ronnie Draper, was suspended, reportedly over a "unidentified tweet" but "no action has been taken against Michael Foster".

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