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Ken Loach’s revelation over the weekend that he had been expelled from the U.K.’s Labour Party has been met with an outpouring of anger from across the political and film worlds.
The veteran director, who has twice won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, is known for his socialist politics and films, such as I, Daniel Blake and Cathy Come Home that captured elements of the British working-class experience while highlighting the impact of right-wing policies. On Saturday, he said in a Twitter thread that his party membership was being cancelled because he wouldn’t disown those “already expelled.”
He added: “I am proud to stand with the good friends and comrades victimized by the purge. There is indeed a witch hunt.”
'Labour HQ finally decided I'm not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled. Well…' KL
— Ken Loach & Sixteen Films (@KenLoachSixteen) August 14, 2021
Among the many expressing their solidarity with Loach was Alex Winter, best known for playing Bill S. Preston Esquire in the Bill & Ted films but also a filmmaker with an impressive list of politically-minded documentaries under his belt.
“It’s very sad to see what’s going on in the UK, and the Labour party eating itself at a moment when strong leadership is so needed. Solidarity with @KenLoachSixteen,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, a number of British members of parliament from the left of the Labour Party — including former shadow chancellor John McDonnell— messaged their disgust at the expulsion.
“To expel such a fine socialist who has done so much to further the cause of socialism is a disgrace,” said McDonnell.
Loach — one of the most famous faces on Britain’s left wing — is arguably the highest-profile figure to have exited the Labour Party, which under leader Keir Starmer has seen an exodus of members as it has shifted away from the Socialism associated with his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn. Thousands have cancelled their membership, while Starmer has overseen a number of removals of leftwing factions that supported Corbyn. As part of this process, Loach — who left the Labour Party in the 1990s but rejoined to back Corbyn — was given the option of either denouncing those already expelled or be expelled himself, choosing the latter.
“Starmer and his clique will never lead a party of the people,” concluded Loach on Twitter. “We are many, they are few. Solidarity.”
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