Jeremy Corbyn’s head of policy has apologised to the Labour party’s general secretary for urging his Twitter followers to vote for the anarchist Class War party instead of the Labour candidate in Croydon South during May’s general election.
Andrew Fisher, who was appointed to Corbyn’s team immediately after his victory in the leadership race, was criticised by Labour MPs when a series of his tweets emerged – posted before he took the job – that were highly critical of the previous Labour leadership.
“I obviously do not and did not support Class War in any way, let alone in an election,” Fisher wrote in a letter to Iain McNicol, the party’s general secretary. “I was and am committed to the election of a Labour government and a successful and united Labour party.”
Fisher’s apology follows a complaint to Labour’s national executive committee by Emily Benn, the defeated Labour candidate in the constituency of Croydon South, who asked that it consider expelling Fisher for breaking party rules.
The party’s rulebook states that anyone who supports someone standing against a Labour candidate “shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member”.
In August last year, Fisher tweeted: “FFS if you live in Croydon South, vote with dignity, vote @campaignbeard.” @campaignbeard referred to the Croydon South Class War candidate, Jon Bigger.
“I accept that the tweet has been misinterpreted and has caused embarrassment and understandable upset among party members, which I regret,” wrote Fisher. “I wish to completely and unreservedly apologise for this tweet. I have now closed my social media accounts and assure you there will be no repetition of such activity in the future.”
On the morning after the general election, Fisher posted on Twitter that it was “fitting that the architect of Labour’s miserable austerity-lite economic policies should lose #Balls”. In September last year, he described the Labour frontbench as “the most abject collection of complete shite”.
The appointment of Fisher was raised by the former shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint at the weekly meeting of the parliamentary Labour party last Monday. Siobhain McDonagh, the MP for Mitcham and Morden, spoke to criticise Fisher, saying Balls had worked incredibly hard to get Labour MPs elected.
Fisher also tweeted that the policies of former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper were worse than those of the British National party. In May this year, Fisher wrote: “BNP policy = no benefits to people who haven’t paid in. Cooper = no benefits even if paid in for 3yrs+”
This article was written by Frances Perraudin, for theguardian.com on Thursday 29th October 2015 21.20 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010