Robert Hampton

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9th November 2010

Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Woolas?
Posted by at 10.44pm | Politics | No responses

The MP Phil Woolas has been stripped of his seat in the House of Commons, after a Court ruled that he breached election campaigning laws.

As a consequence, Woolas has been expelled from the Labour party, a decision which has not pleased everyone. Colleagues and sympathisers are stumping up for his appeal.

In the Guardian, Michael White argues that half-truths and unkeepable promises are par for the course in election campaigning. That may be true (although it’s not a fact that reflects well on our politicians) but Woolas went a bit further than most though: accusing his opponent of funding his campaign illegally and associating with Islamic extremists.

And if you still don’t think he’s done anything wrong, consider this: e-mails from the campaign team revealed during the court case show that there was a strategy to ”galvanise the white Sun vote”. His seat is in Oldham. Of all the places where stoking racial tension is a bad idea, that would have to be near the top of the list.

If Woolas’s appeal fails and a by-election is held, it will be interesting to see how the result turns out. The Liberal Democrat candidate lost by just 103 votes in May 2010 and would be expected to win this time round. Will the coalition cost the Lib Dems votes?