Tony Blair’s former spin doctor said in a tweet on Tuesday he was “sad and disappointed” to find out he had been given the boot, which happened just a day after he revealed he had voted for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections.
A Labour Party spokesman said the decision was made because “support for another political party or candidate is incompatible with Party membership”.
But the swift action was condemned by many on social media who drew comparisons to other Labour Party members who had not been expelled or had just faced suspension for a host of other misdemeanours.
He wrote: “Blimey! Labour struggling for years to take disciplinary action against members accused of anti-Semitism but managed to expel Alastair Campbell for voting Lib Dem over the course of one Bank Holiday weekend.
“Amazing new efficiency!!”
Labour MP Jess Phillips said Campbell was “expelled quicker than a man who threatened to kill me, quicker than a man in my CLP who denied the Holocaust”.
She added: “Both are only still suspended.”
Some more cynical commentators suggested the entire row over Campbell had been manufactured to distract from the other big Labour news of the day – that the party is being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over whether it “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish”.
Labour MP Wes Streeting referenced the EHRC investigation when he said he was “in awe at how quickly the Party can expedite expulsions when the political will exists”.
This was echoed by his colleague, Darren Jones, who said: “It seems the leadership of my party can move remarkably quickly to expel long standing members like @campbellclaret but it can’t seem to bring itself to expel anti-semites.
“This can’t carry on.”
Change UK MP, Anna Soubry, said the incident was “another example of our broken politics” while colleague Sarah Wollaston said Campbell was “punished for his integrity”.
Campbell, who has been a long-standing advocate for a so-called people’s vote on EU membership, said he may launch a legal challenge over the decision.