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1986: Labour expels Militant Hatton

VIDEO : Militant members battle expulsions

Derek Hatton, the controversial deputy leader of Liverpool Council, has been thrown out of the Labour Party for belonging to the left-wing Militant faction.

Mr Hatton, who refused to attend his disciplinary hearing in London, condemned the move as "disgraceful and scandalous".

Labour leader Neil Kinnock missed Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons to lead the charges against Mr Hatton at a meeting of the party's national executive, winning the vote to expel the radical socialist by 12 to six.

The decision came after a day of frantic legal attempts by Militant supporters to prevent the hearing from going ahead.

They failed, and the outspoken 38-year-old was found guilty of membership of the Militant Tendency and of manipulating the rules of the district Labour Party.


"People are sick and tired of Neil Kinnock"

Derek Hatton

Speaking after the vote, Mr Kinnock said party members had a duty to uphold Labour's constitution.

"When it can be demonstrated that people are contradicting that constitution in serious forms then they have to be dealt with," he said.

But a defiant Mr Hatton insisted his expulsion would not be recognised by rank-and-file party members, and vowed to continue his fight against spending cuts in Liverpool.

"Hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country are saying they are sick and tired of Neil Kinnock and other members of the national executive committee taking on socialists in the party," he said.

"They are sick and tired of Neil Kinnock being more concerned about the millionaire tendency who control the press, than he is about the rank and file of the labour and trade union movement".

Further disciplinary hearings are due to take place, in what supporters of Militant are describing as a "witch-hunt" of socialists within the party.

In Context
Militant, a faction inside the Labour Party advocating Trotskyist policies, emerged in the 1970s. In 1982 it was judged to have broken party rules, paving the way for the purge of 1986.

A year earlier Labour leader Neil Kinnock used his conference speech to launch a furious attack on Militant, and particularly Liverpool Council, which had clashed with the Conservative government over its budget.

Mr Kinnock feared the Labour-controlled council was harming the party's image and his attempts to win a general election.

After his explusion from Labour, Derek Hatton pursued a career in the media, hosting a Liverpool radio phone-in and appearing on various TV talk shows. He also became an after-dinner speaker and at one time even modelled menswear.


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