Jeremy Corbyn's policy chief has been suspended by Labour after the top aide urged people to vote for a rival left-wing party at the general election. Andrew Fisher faces an investigation from Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) after the author told Croydon South constituents to vote for hard-left Class War hopeful Jon Bigger instead of Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate, Emily Benn.
Benn, the 26-year-old granddaughter of late Labour stalwart Tony, was defeated at the general election. But Fisher's political career was furthered when he was hired by Corbyn following the veteran left-winger's win in Labour's leadership election. His appointment became controversial after his pro-Class War message on social media site Twitter came to light.
I hope Labour's General Secretary will now move swiftly over Simon Danczuck and Frank Field. Not one rule for staff and another for MPs
— Ken Livingstone (@ken4london) November 6, 2015
Fisher went on to shut his account down and wrote to Labour's general secretary, apologising for the message. "I obviously do not and did not support Class War in any way, let alone in an election. I was and am committed to the election of a Labour government and a successful and united Labour Party," he said.
But the aide now faces a probe from Labour's NEC and the powerful group will draw up a full report with "recommendations for disciplinary action if appropriate", according to a Labour spokeswoman. The party refused to offer a timeline to IBTimes UK on the process as the investigation is ongoing.
@TolpuddleTim I bumped into him on election day and he was campaigning for Labour candidate in Croydon Central despite his tweet about me.
— Jon Bigger (@TradeOnion) November 6, 2015
Meanwhile, Corbyn said he had "full confidence" in Fisher. "I respect the integrity of the general secretary's office and trust that this matter will be settled as quickly as possible," the Labour leader told the Press Association. The development comes after Corbyn faced criticism for hiring Guardian journalist Seumas Milne as his chief of communications.
Milne has come under fire for describing anti-US and UK fighters in Iraq as an "armed resistance" in 2004 and was allegedly a member of a pro-Stalinist group inside the Communist Party of Great Britain. Fisher's suspension will be an unwanted distraction for Labour as the party seeks to regain the Oldham West and Royton seat at a forthcoming by-election on 3 December.