Ken Loach: why has the British filmmaker been ‘expelled’ from Labour party - and what did he say on Twitter?

The I, Daniel Blake director announced in a series of Tweets that Labour had decided he was ‘not fit to be a member of their party’

Veteran leftwinger and British filmmaker Ken Loach has said he has been expelled from the Labour Party in a “purge” of critics of the leadership.

Loach, 85, a life long socialist, said he had been ejected after he refused to “disown” other critics from the Labour left who had already been removed.

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Director Ken Loach attending the 67th San Sebastian International Film Festival (Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Who is Ken Loach?

Loach is best known as an English filmmaker, having directed films such as Kes (1969), which was voted seventh in the greatest British films of the 20th century in a poll by the British Film Institute, and The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006) and I, Daniel Blake (2016), both of which received the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

He was born in Warwickshire in 1936, and initially he studied law at St. Peter’s College in Oxford before he discovered an interest in acting.

After graduating in 1957, Loach spent two years in the Royal Air Force before moving into a career in the arts. He began as an actor in regional theatre companies before working as a director for BBC Television.

Loach directed a number of docudramas in the 1960s called The Wednesday Play. One of those productions, called Cathy Come Home (1966), helped bring the discussion of homelessness into the British mainstream, and was ranked second by the British Film Institute on a list of all-time top 100 British TV programmes.

Some of his other notable works include Riff-Raff (1991), Bread and Roses (2000), The Angels’ Share (2012) and Sorry We Missed You (2019).

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Why has he been expelled from the Labour party?

Loach has said that he has been dropped from the Labour party after he refused to “disown” other critics from the Labour left who had already been removed.

The move comes after the party last month expelled four associated groups on the grounds that they were “not compatible” with Labour values.

The groups were: Resist, Socialist Appeal, Labour in Exile Network and Labour Against the Witchhunt.

Both Labour in Exile Network and Labour Against the Witchhunt campaigned against the suspension and expulsion of left wing Labour members by party leader Sir Keir Starmer.

What did he say on Twitter?

In a series of tweets, Loach insisted that the “clique” around the Labour leader would never ultimately prevail.

He wrote: “Labour HQ finally decided I’m not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled. Well I am proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimised by the purge.

“There is indeed a witch hunt. Starmer and his clique will never lead a party of people. We are many, they are few. Solidarity.”

Loach had previously been suspended from the party in October 2020 for saying that the problem of antisemitism within the Labour party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”. He also suggested that Labour MPs who attended a rally against antisemitism in the party are “the ones we need to kick out”.

His suspension was lifted the following month.