We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Tim Farron: Where does Labour stand on Phil Woolas?

November 19, 2010 3:30 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Party President-Elect Tim Farron has written to the General Secretary of the Labour Party, Ray Collins, asking him to clarify the Labour Party's position on Phil Woolas following criticism of Harriet Harman's decision to suspend him by a number of backbench MPs.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear General Secretary,

Firstly may I offer you my heartfelt congratulations on the news of your elevation to the House of Lords.

However, I am writing to you to raise the matter of the judgement of the Election Court in Oldham East and Saddleworth on November 5th and asking for you to act before you step down from your current post.

I am aware that a request for a Judicial Review of this decision has been made, but am also aware that Acting Labour Leader Harriet Harman said that "it won't change the facts that were found by the election court, which was that he said things that were untrue knowing it, and that is what we are taking action on - because it is not part of Labour's politics for somebody to be telling lies to get themselves elected. That is not going to change, and that is what we regard as very serious and that's why we have suspended him."

Harriet Harman's statement must be right. Politics should be better than this and it should never again be part of an election campaign to 'make one section of the community angry about, and fearful of, another on the basis of falsehoods' - as was said in Court.

Hope not hate should be the basis of our politics.

I know that, following my election last weekend as Liberal Democrat Party President from 1/1/2011 and a visit to Oldham East and Saddleworth on Monday to talk to residents in the constituency, people in Oldham and Saddleworth and across the country fervently want the Labour Party to clearly say that Phil Woolas' campaign, as highlighted in Court, was totally unacceptable and must be condemned outright.

People want the Labour Party to say, with one voice, that Phil Woolas' campaign will not be tolerated by the Labour Party and that nothing will clear the name of Phil Woolas and Labour Party members involved in campaigning intended to divide communities along racial lines - given the facts about the campaign established at the Election Court - because the Labour Party's principles and constitution won't allow any other conclusion to be drawn.

If you are willing to clarify that this is where the Labour Party officially stands then we as Liberal Democrats will be immediate in our support for your stance.

I'm sure you would agree that this would be a very positive step and a fitting way to draw a line under this matter as your last act in office.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you are able to issue a statement to that effect?

Yours sincerely

Tim Farron

Member of Parliament for Westmorland and Lonsdale and Liberal Democrat Party President-Elect