A LABOUR member for 44 years has launched a vicious attack on Keir Starmer’s party – claiming he was expelled for an innocuous tweet.

Neal Lawson, who runs the cross-party progressive campaign organisation Compass, said that Labour had been “captured by a clique … behaving like playground bullies”.

In an excoriating attack on the Labour leadership, Lawson claimed that Starmer had chosen "the Rupert Murdoch path to power over the progressive majority route".

Last week, it was reported that Starmer and Scottish Labour's Anas Sarwar were among attendees at a party thrown by Murdoch at Spencer House in London.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar dismisses claims Scottish Labour is just a 'branch office'

Lawson claimed the Labour chiefs were caught in a “paranoid, top-down way of political thinking” and would not back a reform of the electoral system because it “would mean sacrificing its domineering power”.

But Labour claimed that Lawson's claims were "false", saying that he had only been issued with a notice of an allegation.

Writing in the Guardian, Lawson said that he had been notified of his expulsion from the party last Friday. He claimed that the reasoning given was one tweet, from May 2021, where he praised LibDem MP Layla Moran for urging some people to tactically vote Green.

“This is proper grown up progressive politics from @LaylaMoran and @TheGreenParty,” Lawson wrote, resharing Moran’s now-deleted post.

The Compass director stood by his 2021 tweet, saying the “progressive majority in our country is thwarted by the electoral system” and calling for more cooperation to oust the Conservative Government.

“Votes on the right go almost exclusively to the Tories, but the progressive vote is always split between Labour, Lib Dems and Greens. Under first past the post (FPTP) the Conservatives win on a minority of the vote, again and again. Cooperation between progressives just makes sense,” he said.

READ MORE: Former Labour MSP candidate quits party amid savage attack on Keir Starmer

But he said that Labour had abandoned its founding values of pluralism and negotiation.

Lawson went on: “It has been captured by a clique who see only true believers or sworn enemies. They are behaving like playground bullies, using people’s desperation to get rid of Tories and the limitations of the voting system to enforce discipline internally and externally.

“All this is fast amounting to an abusive relationship in which first past the post gives members no realistic alternative party to leave for, and the voters nowhere else to put their cross.

“PR is the route to a progressive century, but for the Labour machine that would mean sacrificing its domineering power: most of its behaviour now originates in this paranoid, top-down way of political thinking.”

READ MORE: Labour bid to seize control of Scottish council from SNP falls flat

Lawson added: “Labour’s persecutors and witchfinders aren’t the best of the party, just the people who currently happen to be at the top. They are hard but brittle.

“Inevitably, like all bullies, they have to be generously but firmly stood up to, until they understand their own insecurities and can start to heal. To my accusers, I therefore send my love.”

Starmer’s Labour leadership has been seen as wielding an iron grip over selection processes across the UK in an effort to ensure that figures on the right of the party, not the left, are elected as MPs at the next General Election.

Despite Labour's conference having backed reform of the electoral system, Starmer has no intention of pursuing the policy.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: “This is entirely false. Mr Lawson hasn’t been expelled. He was served with a notice of allegation seven days ago, putting claims to him that he expressed support for candidates from other parties. He has 14 days to respond. He is yet to do so.”