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Labour's Findlay quits as Campbell axed after EU election

The MSP resigned from the party after the former spin doctor was expelled over the EU election vote.

Expelled: Alastair Campbell has been thrown out of Labour.
Expelled: Alastair Campbell has been thrown out of Labour.

Tony Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell has been expelled from the Labour Party after admitting he voted for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections.

Mr Campbell, a leading campaigner for a second referendum on Brexit, said he was "sad and disappointed" by the decision.

A Labour Party spokesman said "support for another political party or candidate is incompatible with Party membership".

Mr Campbell, one of the key players in the New Labour era, insisted there was "plenty of precedent" of members voting for other parties or causes and pointed out Jeremy Corbyn's own rebellious past in Westminster votes during Mr Blair's premiership.

And he said there was a difference in the swift way his situation had been dealt with compared to "the way anti-Semitism cases have been handled".

Neil Findlay has resigned from Scottish Labour's front bench.
Neil Findlay has resigned from Scottish Labour's front bench. STV

The news comes as Neil Findlay, MSP for Lothian, announced his resignation as Scottish Labour's Business Manager, Party Liaison and spokesman on Constitutional Relations.

He also confirmed that he will leave the Scottish Parliament at the 2021 Holyrood elections.

Mr Findlay said: "It has been an enormous privilege to serve the Scottish Labour Party, first as a councillor and then a Member of the Scottish Parliament.

"I am proud of the work I have done representing my constituents in the Lothian region and of the campaigns I have led in Parliament most notably to retain the children's ward at St John's hospital, supporting the blacklisted construction workers, the mesh campaign, miners' justice and support for the victims of undercover policing amongst many others.

"I will continue to work hard and diligently on these and other issues right up until I leave parliament."

Scottish Labour Leader, Richard Leonard responded to Mr Findlay's decision to quit the Labour front bench, saying he was "very sorry" to see the MSP leave, adding his service "has been outstanding".

Richard Leonard does not intend to stand down following the EU election.
Richard Leonard does not intend to stand down following the EU election.

However Mr Leonard has said he does not intend to stand down following his party's worst ever defeat in the European elections.

Mr Leonard said he is "taking the flak" for an "incredibly bad" result, where the party lost its two MEPs and slid from second to fifth place, with 9.3% of the overall vote in Scotland.

He played down suggestions of tumult within the senior ranks, following the resignation of his close ally, Neil Findlay, from the front bench with a call for the party to end infighting and a "toxic" culture of leaking and briefing.

Following a lengthy group meeting in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Leonard said there had been no calls from members present for him to resign.

'I am taking the flak, and I am prepared to take the flak, for what was a poor result.'
Richard Leonard, Scottish Labour leader

He said: "I'm not going to resign as leader of the Labour Party.

"We've had a constructive meeting of the group, the first chance we have had to talk about the result of the European Parliamentary election.

"There is a determination in the group to find a constructive way forward.

"We recognise that 9% is an incredibly bad result but we need to come together to build a way from that."

He added: "I am taking the flak, and I am prepared to take the flak, for what was a poor result.

"Sometimes when your back's against the wall, people come together.

"We need to rebuild the Labour vote but we will do that by being united."

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