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1991: Anti-poll tax MP jailed

Labour MP Terry Fields has been sentenced to 60 days in prison for refusing to pay his poll tax.

The MP for Liverpool Broadgreen since 1983, Mr Fields was summonsed last December for evading his 373 bill.

The left-wing, former fireman appeared shocked when judgement was passed at Bootle magistrates' court but he managed a smile and a wave as he was taken to the cells amid cheers from the public gallery.

The MP was represented at the 90 minute hearing by barrister Hugo Charlton of the Campaign Against Poll Tax Imprisonment.

Although his sentence equals the two longest of the 35 prison terms for non-payment, it does not jeopardise his parliamentary seat or the Labour whip, which are only lost after a year's imprisonment.


"Law makers must not be law breakers"

Labour leader Neil Kinnock

Labour sources suggest that his militant tendencies may well threaten his future.

His local Labour Party has already met to discuss his recent lack of support for Walton by-election candidate Peter Kilfoyle and his constituency chair, Barry Navarro, has hinted at his de-selection.

Colleagues on the left of the Commons have expressed their sympathies for Mr Field whose wife Maureen now has to wait until September to receive her sentence for non-payment.

Labour leader Neil Kinnock said: "Law makers must not be law breakers. I have always made that clear."

In Context
The poll tax was introduced in 1990 and led to riots in March of that year.

The tax indirectly led to the downfall of Margaret Thatcher in November 1990. It was replaced by the council tax in 1993.

In December 1991 Terry Fields was expelled from Labour for Militant tendencies after a disciplinary hearing before the national constitutional committee.

He stood against the official Labour candidate in the 1992 general election, but achieved only 14% of the vote.


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