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Margot, 92, expelled by Labour after backing Green daughter in poll

PUBLISHED: 05:30 19 May 2019

92-year-old Margot Packwood with her daughter Lesley and son Conrad. Picture: PAUL GEATER

92-year-old Margot Packwood with her daughter Lesley and son Conrad. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Margot Packwood has been a member of the Labour Party for more than 70 years - but was shocked to get a letter from the party cancelling her membership after breaking its election rules.

The 92-year-old from Colchester Road in Ipswich joined the party when she left the ATS in 1948 - when Clement Atlee was Prime Minister and the main concern was when rationing would end.

But her long membership counted for nothing when she signed the nomination papers for her daughter who stood for the Green Party in this month's local council election in the town.

Lesley Packwood stood against a Labour candidate in the Bixley Ward in the election - she came third with 326 votes while Labour's Paul Anderson came second with 522. The seat was retained by Conservative Richard Pope with 1,026 votes.

But just days before the election Margot received a letter from the Labour Party telling her that her membership had been cancelled because she had signed the papers.

She said: "It used all kinds of official language. I know now that I should have read the small print of the membership rules, but I've been in the party so long you don't think about those kind of things.

"I'm still a strong Labour supporter. I wouldn't vote for anyone else. I always used to put up a Labour poster in the garden at election time. I still would if I could!"

Lesley said: "It does seem a bit of an over-reaction. I didn't want to get mum in trouble with the Labour Party."

Politics runs deep in the Packwood family - Lesley's brother Conrad stood for the Liberal Democrats in the Sprites Ward.

"If my father was still alive you'd have the whole set here, he voted Tory," Lesley added.

Ipswich Labour agent John Cook said Margot's signature on the nomination papers was noticed by a computer at Labour head office which sent out the letter.

He said: "We are trying to help on this. It seems to have been a genuine mistake by Margot and I have said we may be able to help them with an appeal. The rules are there to protect the party, but in this case we would certainly like to offer her our help."

Over the years Margot was visited by former MP Ken Weetch who used her home as a base while campaigning during the 1970s and 1980s.

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