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Friday, November 05, 2010 

Not a tribute to Phil Woolas.

As welcome as the political demise of Phil Woolas is, the way in which it has come about has hardly been ideal. Not solely due to rather than being removed by the electorate he has instead been unseated by a court, but also due to how the Labour party itself could have eased him out, suspending him from the party whilst he defended himself from the accusations made by his Liberal Democrat opponent, Elwyn Watkins. Inexplicably, despite knowing that a ruling was in the offing over whether or not he could remain as an MP, Ed Miliband still thought that he was a perfectly suitable choice to be of all things, the shadow immigration minister.

As Dan Hodges points out over on Labour Uncut, Woolas set himself up with the party's full connivance as the "straight talker" on immigration, winning the support of the Sun for his "tough" but obviously fair policies, a role which the new leader thought he should continue to perform in opposition. Only now that he's been found guilty is it decided that his campaign went so far beyond acceptable norms that he cannot remain a Labour party member, with Harriet Harman making the thoroughly disingenuous statement that "[I]t is not part of Labour politics to try to win elections by saying things that are not true." No, that's since been outsourced to the Lib Dems.

It does however take a considerable amount of chutzpah for Simon "straight choice" Hughes and the unelected Baroness Warsi, who previously complained without a shred of evidence that three Labour MPs with large Asian communities in their constituencies had won thanks to electoral fraud to decide that they were best suited to comment on Woolas's downfall. Still, not like politicians to tell lies, eh?

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