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Ex-Militant figure Derek Hatton suspended by Labour

Sky News logo Sky News 20/02/2019 Jon Craig, chief political correspondent and Greg Heffer, political reporter

Derek Hatton wearing a suit and tie: Derek Hatton has been suspended from the Labour Party © PA Derek Hatton has been suspended from the Labour Party Left-wing firebrand Derek "Degsy" Hatton has been suspended by the Labour Party - just 48 hours after his controversial re-admission was confirmed.

The 71-year-old, a member of the Militant tendency that infiltrated Labour in the 1970s and 1980s, was expelled from the party in 1986 after being found in breach of their rules.

But, earlier this week, he told Sky News he was "delighted" to have now been allowed back into the Labour Party, after his application to rejoin was recently approved by a panel.

On Wednesday, shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner told the House of Commons he had written to Labour's general secretary Jennie Formby to lodge a formal complaint about Mr Hatton.

It came after it emerged Mr Hatton sent a tweet in 2012, which now appears to have been deleted, claiming "Jewish people with any sense of humanity need to start speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel".

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Mr Gardiner said: "I understand that action has since been taken in respect of the complaint and I am sure that I will be looking out to see precisely what appropriate action has been taken in due course."

A Labour Party source later confirmed Mr Hatton had been suspended once the tweet was brought to their attention.

Mr Hatton was described as having "provisional membership" of Labour, pending approval by the party's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) as a final stage of his readmission process.

The panel were not aware of Mr Hatton's tweet when they approved his membership application.

Sky News understands Mr Hatton received a letter from Ms Formby following Mr Gardiner's complaint and that he regards his tweet as "innocuous".

He is suspended pending an investigation into the complaint.

Earlier on Wednesday, Labour deputy leader Tom Watson criticised the re-admittance of Mr Hatton to Labour, news of which came on the same day that seven Labour MPs quit the party citing concerns over a failure to tackle antisemitism.

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Mr Watson told Sky News: "A party that loses Luciana Berger and gains Derek Hatton doesn't look like it's reaching out to the whole country for a general election.

"So, I think we've got to do a lot more work in that department."

Mr Hatton, the flamboyant former deputy leader of Liverpool City Council, was originally expelled from Labour 33 years ago in a purge of Militant Tendency leaders ordered by then Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

Under the Trotskyist group's direction, Liverpool City Council set an illegal set an illegal budget in 1985 - spending more than its income - in a stand against Margaret Thatcher's government.

It was also heavily criticised for sending redundancy notices by taxi to thousands of council workers, which it claimed was a negotiating tactic.

Mr Hatton began the process of rejoining Labour in September last year, when he praised the "powerful socialist leadership" of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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