Labour MPs react in disbelief as former Militant Derek Hatton is readmitted to party
Labour MPs have reacted in disbelief after hardline former Militant leader Derek Hatton was readmitted to the party 33 years after he was expelled.
The 71-year-old was a member of Labour's Trotskyist Militant tendency and is a former deputy leader of Liverpool council. He was booted out of the party by Neil Kinnock in 1986 for breaching party rules by setting an illegal council budget.
He said it was "good to be back" after being readmitted to the party on the same day as seven moderate MP quit over Jeremy Corbyn's handling of anti-Semitism and Brexit.
But his return has prompted astonishment from some Labour MPs.
Dudley North MP Ian Austin highlighted a tweet Mr Hatton posted in 2012, in which he wrote: "Jewish people with any sense of humanity need to start speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel!"
Mr Austin said: "Keen to address the Jewish community’s concerns and widespread worries that the Labour Party has been taken over by a sectarian hard-left faction, the party yesterday readmitted Derek Hatton."
Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden also mocked the decision to readmit Mr Hatton. Above a message showing the announcement, he posted: "And in an effort to reach out and show inclusive leadership..."
Mr Hatton says he was "inspired" to return by Mr Corbyn's leadership and branded the seven MPs who left the party as "pathetic".
"Of course it's good to be back, in fact in a way I've never left," he said.
"For 34 years I've stayed absolutely solid with the Labour Party. Never joined any other party, never actually voted for another party. Never campaigned for another party.
"And, believe you me, during the times of the Blair era, the Iraq war, the ending of clause four, etc, it wasn't easy, and it was tempting to go.
"And that's why when you look at the seven who now have left you think, well, how pathetic is it, how really strong are you within the Labour movement to want to run away when there is something that you disagree with?"
Mr Hatton was expelled for setting a budget with spending higher than income, in a challenge to Margaret Thatcher's Tory government to make up the shortfall.
He is not the only controversial figure to seek readmittance to the party.
Former MP George Galloway, who was thrown out by Tony Blair in 2003, has called for his expulsion to be lifted.