Exclusive: fund-raising letter to support Woolas


5:24 pm - November 9th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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You may have already heard that some Labour MPs are sending around a letter to try and raise funds to support disgraced MP Phil Woolas.

We have been leaked a copy of that letter, and publish it here exclusively.

Dear Friend,

You will have heard that Phil has lost the case and the injustice and implications of this ruling for politics are hard to imagine. Phil is now no longer an MP.

The decision of the electoral court has no appeal process other than to go for a Judicial Review (JR).

As a Labour candidate, Phil was covered for costs for the election petition hearing by the Party insurers, but their insurance does not cover the JR and as you know the Party has refused to fund any further action.

Contrary to what some are claiming, winning the JR would also clear Phil’s name of the allegations of deception as well as overturning the point of law.

We have strong QC opinion that we can win this case; Lord Falconer has also given his opinion that the law was not properly applied and that winning does indeed clear Phil’s name.

To finance this action, we have to purchase an insurance policy to cover costs in the event that we do lose. The legal team are working for free as they feel so strongly that we have a case. We really need your help in financing this and any help will be very much appreciated. If we win, you get your money back; if we don’t raise enough to buy the premium, you will also get your money back.

Cheques, payable to T Allen, should be sent to:
Cllr John Battye
[address redacted]

If you would prefer to use a bank transfer please email the address below and we will send the account details.

If you do send a donation please also email: woolasappealfund@googlemail.com and advise us of your name, address, email and telephone number so that we can check against donations received.
Thank you very much for your kind support at this difficult time.

Best Regards

Cllr John Battye

Our source said: “Quite funny, I thought only Pandas get appeal funds…

You can sign Don Paskini’s letter supporting Harriet Harman’s comments on Woolas.

Update: Paul Flynn MP has spoken out on Twitter:

Harriet Harman is not isolated. At the PLP last night she was surrounded by MPs offering support. The alleged offence is not a minor one.

A poll has found overwhelming support for Harriet Harman’s position too, says UK Polling Report:

In YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun yesterday we also asked for the first reactions to Phil Woolas being ejected from Parliament. 71% thought that the courts were right to expel Woolas, with only 7% thinking they had made the wrong decision. There was also very little sympathy for the argument that the ruling risked stifling free political debate during elections. Only 9% thought the law was wrong and a restriction on free speech, with 74% supporting it.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Who are the MP’s?

2. Mole in a Hole

Tracy Allen, of course, being Mrs Woolas. And Cllr Battye was involved in drawing up the racist / illegal campaign. He was also MP’s staff for Woolas.

How much do they need to collect?

…. as if we needed more evidence that New Labour isn’t actually dead….

He works for Woolas,
http://www.oldham-chronicle.co.uk/news-features/elections/election-pitch/532/john-battye

And to back him after that campaign (and his record as a minister) just makes me think there is a nest of racists within Labour that needs exposing.

Link to Don’s letter goes straight back to this page btw

Unless Woolas is claiming that those disgusting leaflets were forged or put out without his consent then I suspect Cllr Battye and I have very different views as to what constitutes “cleared”.

Charlie Falconer’s legal opinion? Hmmm. Rings a bell…

Link fixed – thanks for pointing that out. Have also updated with Paul Flynn’s comments

6, Jimmy – During the court hearing, Woolas made it clear that he stood by every word in the leaflets in question.

11. Richard Pond

This is all very strange. The letter claims that there is no appeals process other than judicial review. That is utterly untrue: the Representation of the People Act specifically enables appeals to the Court of Appeal (if the High Court grants leave to appeal), whereas it doesn’t mention judicial review.

The twitter trend has turned up David Miliband and Gordon Brown as donors/sympathisers. And I guess we can take Tom Harris as read, given his comments when the verdict came out.

I’m not happy about Judges overturning an election but that is a separate issue from Woolas’ reprehensible behaviour. He would be in a far better position to win support for this campaign if he resigned. It seems to me his only possible chance of redemption.

Good to see Ed Milliband handling this issue with such aplomb.

He really is turning out to be a great leader, isn’t he?

I suppose the fact that Justine Thornton has just given birth to their second child should just be ignored….give him a break? Ed is not the issue here.

As the Heresiarch has pointed out. Judicial Review absolutely isn’t the answer. The “Electoral Court” is in fact the High Court. You cannot ask the High Court to perform JR on, umm, the High Court.

Got to go a court higher: Appeals it is then.

I wouldn’t normally mind but that the great minds of a certain section of the Labour Party don’t actually understand the legal system of the country they wish to run is worrying.

I suppose the fact that Justine Thornton has just given birth to their second child should just be ignored….give him a break? Ed is not the issue here.

Sure. And the fact that Woolas was appointed as shadow immigration minister by “Ed” should similarly not be used as a stick to question the questionable judgment of the party leader. It was a wise decision to let Harman do the dirty work and take the heat.

@15

Those racist leaflets were exposed months ago. Ed did nothing about them but appoint Woolas to the shadow cabinet.

Now that the court has taken the action he was too weak to he’s hiding behind Aunt Hattie while the comrades run riot.

Excuses aside, it’s a pathetic performance all around.

he’s hiding behind Aunt Hattie while the comrades run riot.

Under Labour Party rules, the Deputy Leader is responsible for organisational matters, so it was Harman’s responsibility to make the call on suspending Woolas, not Miliband’s.

I wouldn’t normally mind but that the great minds of a certain section of the Labour Party don’t actually understand the legal system of the country they wish to run is worrying.

It’s not that they don’t understand the legal system so much as Woolas cannot get the outcome he wants by going to the Court of Appeal.

As I understand the situation, while the Appeal Court could set aside the Election Court’s ruling on a point of law, what it cannot do in this case is set aside the finding of facts. Even if Woolas won at appeal he would still stand condemned as a liar, even if this enabled him to avoid being disbarred from public office.

That’s why he’s trying to get a judicial review here – its the only route by which he could, theoretically, get the finding of facts struck from the public record.

Is Scooby suggesting that Miliband managed to time the birth of his son so as to avoid having to get his hands dirty over Woolas?

@19

“Under Labour Party rules, the Deputy Leader is responsible for organisational matters”

I’m sure you’re right.

I’ll be frank. I’m a Liberal and as such I have no respect for the warmongers, racists and control-freaks who run the Labour party.

Even so, I’m surprised that they haven’t been able to find a better leader than the ridiculous weakling they’ve got.

Whether he’s hiding behind Aunt Hattie or your work to rule doesn’t really matter. If the man is a leader he should have the chutzpa to take control of this situation.

24. Richard Pond

Woolas’s supporters, defenders and apologists – and I don’t know whether they are all supporting him financially or have any role in this letter – appear to include Graham Stringer, Jim Fitzpatrick, David Winnick, Dave Watts, John Mann, and George Howarth. I have written to all these people and urge others to do the same.

I reckon the motivation is more, “Oh shit! That could have been me!”

26. James from Durham

Anyone who backs Woolas now is mad. He is a political leper. Unlike real leprosy however, political leprosy is highly contagious.

The PLP’s support for Woolas highlights a serious problem with Labour. After 13 plus years of NuLabor ensuring all new candidates are properly neoliberal and supportive of the free market, the parliamentary party is rotten to the core.

Another pro-Woolas MP is reportedly David Miliband ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8123452/David-Miliband-backs-Phil-Woolas-over-expulsion.html ). Woolas is said to have helped run DM’s leadership campaign and the two are said to be politically close.

Pity people don’t read the full text of the archaic law this action was brought under. Also Phil was not found guilty of racism but of lying.How quick the politically correct are to jump on the racism wagon. There is a great deal of respect here for the on the ground work Phil did for the pakinstan and bangledeshi communities which was never published. The pressure on Phil from the section of his area which was Asian was tremendous and I never knew him not to support and help. The only time there was criticism from that area was if he didn’t get what they wanted but that common to us all.I must confess that I didn’t think he should be the one in the dock but that’s an up close opinion.
Lot of sneering and selfrighteousness going on in this thread. I would love to have an in-depth probe into these so very perfect people.

30. Chaise Guevara

@ 29

You sorta shot yourself in the foot there by pointing out (correctly) that some people are confused and think that the court decision proves racism on Woolas’s part, then suggesting he should have got away with it because he’s not racist.

Most of the accusations of racism come from people’s assessment of the leaflets his office put out. That doesn’t need an in-depth investigation. He deliberately set out to tap Islamophobia, and he did it in the public sphere.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  9. David Jørgensen

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  10. Phil Woolas. ish.

    Joe again. We're really greatful to @LibCon for publicising our fundraising letter. Do take a look. http://bit.ly/a6mxgx Every little helps.

  11. GRS-ONE

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  18. Caroline Crampton

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  19. Paula Keaveney

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  23. Battye fund-raising letter for Phil Woolas

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  29. TenPercent

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  30. Holly Sutton

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  31. Michael Jones

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  32. Liberal Conspiracy

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  37. Moawia Bin-Sufyan

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  38. Donate to the Phil Woolas Appeal Fund

    […] am not tempted, but Liberal Conspiracy has the text of an extraordinary letter from a Labour councillor inviting you to do just […]

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  40. Lewis Griffin

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  41. Tim Ireland

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  43. Danielle Blake

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  44. Kelly

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  45. Michael Cox

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  48. Richard Wilson

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  53. Jacob Richardson

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  55. Alan W Collins

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