Protests planned for Alastair Campbell's 'curry spin' visit (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Anti-Iraq war campaigners to stage protest over Alastair Campbell visit
Left-wing campaigners are planning to protest during a visit by one of the architects of New Labour at a fundraising night billed as 'curry with a spin'.
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's controversial spin doctor, will attend the event on Thursday, organised by the Walthamstow Labour Party at The Asian Centre in Orford Road, as a guest speaker.
The event, starting at 7:30pm, invites Labour supporters to meet the 'orginial spin doctor'.
Waltham Forest Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) plan to picket the event in protest at Mr Campbell's involvement with the government's justification for the invasion of Iraq.
TUSC's Nancy Taffe said: "We find this invitation insulting.
"In Waltham Forest thousands of people protested on the day that the allied powers attacked Iraq.
"Walthamstow Labour always claimed to be anti-war. We can only assume that their need to get power overrides any principles that they may have on the war."
But Walthamstow's Labout MP Stella Creasy, who has said she would have voted against the war, welcomed Mr Campbell's visit.
She said: "Mr Campbell is kindly coming to help raise funds to support our community organising activities in Walthamstow on issues such as payday lending, women's equality, action on housing and access to healthcare in our community.
“As a volunteer-led organisation, we would not be able to do the work we do without such fundraising so these kinds of events, so fundraising at these kind of events, which we hold regularly, are vital to our movement.”
"As well as speaking about his role in Government he will also be taking questions from attendees as I know he is happy to debate a wide range of issues."
Ms Creasy defended TUSC's right to protest, but said she hoped they would not stifle open debate.
"The TUSC are a political party who of course have their own objectives ahead of the elections, and have sought to disrupt a number of our events in previous years by staging similar such protests," she added.
"As a democrat I support their right to disagree and I hope they will not seek to disrupt the rights of others to take part in such discussions."