Woolas case tension builds inside Labour

Supporters of Phil Woolas are confident that he will now be granted leave to seek judicial review, with an expedited hearing expected to be held early next week, Uncut has learned.

Sources close to the former MP for Oldham East & Saddleworth also believe that the facts of the case will be subject to challenge. This is contrary to the interpretation of a number of legal experts. Woolas’ supporters also remain confident of the overall outcome, citing one legal opinion as placing their chances of success at 60%.

Meanwhile, tensions seem to be emerging between Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman over the management of Woolas’ suspension from the party.

Some MPs believe that Ms Harman is being unfairly blamed for the continuing fall-out from the crisis. Amid signs that Ed Miliband is preparing to distance himself from Ms Harman, one MP said, “They’re clearing the decks. If Woolas wins his judicial review Ed’s people are going to throw Harriet overboard”.

Sources close to Ed Miliband have been noting that the original decision to retain Woolas on the front bench as immigration minister was initially taken by Ms Harman, then the acting leader. A shadow cabinet minister today said that Harriet’s comments over the weekend were, “not state sponsored”.

This represents a change in stance for the leader’s office, who on Friday were briefing selected lobby journalists that Phil Woolas political career “is over”, as a result of the election court ruling.

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