Portsmouth Labour leader expelled from party for sharing ‘innocuous’ Facebook post in 2016

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A COUNCILLOR blocked by the Labour Party from standing for re-election under its banner in May has now been officially expelled from the party.

Councillor Cal Corkery, who has been Portsmouth City Council’s Labour group leader since last year, confirmed the decision on Saturday, saying he was ‘considering all options’ to continue representing the Charles Dickens ward.

He said he had been expelled for sharing an ‘innocuous’ Facebook post in 2016 with the group that posted it going on to be proscribed in 2021.

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Councillor Cal Corkery. Picture: Habibur Rahman.Councillor Cal Corkery. Picture: Habibur Rahman.
Councillor Cal Corkery. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

‘Remarkably, just days after announcing I’ve been blocked from restanding as a Labour councillor and suggesting this could be part of a trend against socialists and trade unionists, I have now received notice of immediate expulsion,’ he said.

‘The sole reason used to terminate my Labour membership is that, in 2016, I shared an innocuous Facebook post and liked the page which posted it. Although part of the Labour Party at that time, the group the page belonged to would then go on to be proscribed in 2021.

‘Principles of natural justice and procedural fairness ordinarily require that a rule cannot be broken which didn’t exist at the time – apparently not in today’s Labour Party.

‘I am proud of my time in the Labour Party, of the many people we’ve helped in our area, and of the socialist and trade union causes we’ve furthered.

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‘I walk away with my head held high and principles intact. I’m now considering all options available to me.’

Cllr Corkery was blocked form standing for re-election due to this post, as well as his arrest at a protest against the prorogation of parliament and for his links with the campaign group Momentum.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service earlier this week, he said he had been ‘heartened’ by the response to the decision but had yet to consider the potential of standing for re-election for another party or as an independent.

In December, Councillor Judith Smyth’s involvement with the Portsmouth Labour Party was suspended. Several Labour Party members have confirmed her suspension was taken after she spoke out in support of Cllr Corkery at a Labour meeting. The investigation into Cllr Smyth is ongoing.