Blackadder actor Sir Tony Robinson has voiced fears a “leftist clique” has “completely taken over” Labour.
The TV star and Labour member spoke out after three candidates backed by Jeremy Corbyn-supporting group Momentum were elected to the party’s ruling body.
Labour’s internal rift deepened on Tuesday when members of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) elected a Momentum director as the new chair of their disputes panel.
Christine Shawcroft took the influential post after beating incumbent Ann Black in a vote of NEC members, but saw her victory immediately attacked.
Critics highlighted how Ms Shawcroft had previously been suspended by Labour for publicly supporting Lutfur Rahman, the controversial former mayor of London borough Tower Hamlets who was found guilty of electoral fraud.
In her new role, Ms Shawcroft will lead the panel responsible for enforcing Labour Party rules.
Commenting before the result of the vote, former NEC member Sir Tony posted on Twitter: “Ann Black’s brilliant – a radical voice for ordinary members on the NEC with an awesome work rate.
“The idea of the Corbynite left trying to undermine her is outrageous.
“If true it would confirm what I’ve always feared – our party completely taken over by and for a leftist clique.”
Ann Black’s brilliant- a radical voice for ordinary members on the NEC with an awesome work rate. The idea of the Corbynite left trying to undermine her is outrageous. If true it would confirm what I’ve always feared- our party completely taken over by and for a leftist clique https://t.co/iT19WFsIZZ
— Tony Robinson (@Tony_Robinson) January 16, 2018
Labour peer Lord Beecham, who also previously served on the NEC, branded Ms Shawcroft’s election “shameful”.
And Richard Angell, director of Progress, the pressure group of centre-left Labour members, said: “The irony of someone who was kicked out of Labour because she supported Lutfur Rahman, the disgraced former mayor of Tower Hamlets, becoming the chair of the disputes committee shows the contempt the Momentum leadership have for due process and party democracy.”
Momentum have been accused of staging an “entryist” takeover of the Labour Party following Mr Corbyn’s election as party leader in 2015.
The left-wing group, which grew out of Mr Corbyn’s leadership campaign, has previously been branded “a bit of a rabble” by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson.
On Monday, Momentum founder Jon Lansman was elected to the NEC to extend both his and Mr Corbyn’s influence over Labour’s ruling body.
He was joined on the NEC by other Momentum-backed candidates Yasmine Dar and Rachel Garnham, while comedian Eddie Izzard was defeated in his attempt to win a place.
The new prominence of Momentum on the NEC has sparked suggestions so-called “moderate” Labour MPs could be targeted by deselection efforts.