Man "prepared to dance on Thatcher's grave" dropped from Newport by-election
5:51pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
A FORMER miner has been dropped from running for Labour in the Newport by-election after it emerged he said he’d be prepared to dance on the grave of Margaret Thatcher.
Chris Herriot yesterday said his speech about the impact of Thatcher to a meeting of Socialist Appeal in London, which is available on YouTube, was trying to give voice to how miners felt.
The former miner, a lecturer at De Montfort University in Leicester who lives in Beechwood, is heard to say on the video: “The bitch is dead.”
A Welsh Labour spokesman said the Newport Labour campaign forum has decided not to endorse him after his comments, and because he failed to declare his past membership of Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party.
Mr Herriot was selected by Pill Labour members for the ward’s council by-election on October 31 at a meeting on Tuesday.
Omar Ali, a community worker who grew up in Pill and came second at the meeting, will now run instead.
Mr Ali is a local community worker in the ward. The Argus was told on Wednesday that Mr Herriot was the candidate before there was a change of heart.
In the video Mr Herriot said some of his university colleagues ask him why he is “so bitter about Margaret Thatcher – she was not exactly Adolf Hitler or Joe Stalin”.
The lecturer, who took part in the miners’ strike of 1984-85, said: “You’re right – she didn’t have the opportunity to murder millions, but she would have done, had she needed to, in pursuit of her agenda!”
He also said: “I have the same contempt for Maggie Thatcher that she had for us. That’s why I’m prepared to dance on her grave.”
Speaking to the Argus, Mr Herriot said he “was trying to give voice to what miners up and down the country were feeling”.
Mr Herriot said he had mentioned his membership of the SLP at his interview meeting, and said he was going to complain to Welsh Labour.
“I am mystified that that could be put forward as a reason,” he said of his former party membership. “Omar Ali is a good candidate. Good luck to him. I will work as hard as possible to get Omar elected.”
A Welsh Labour spokesman said: “The Newport Labour local campaign forum decided not to endorse Chris Herriot as a candidate following public comments he made that would bring the party into disrepute and because he failed to declare past membership of another party.”
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