The Young Labour Twitter account has been restricted and its annual conference cancelled after the group was accused of being “actively detrimental to the party’s core objectives” amid a clash with the leadership over NATO and Ukraine.
The account tweeted this morning: “We regret to inform you that access to the @YoungLabourUK Twitter account has been restricted until further notice. As an official channel for the youth wing of the Labour Party, we expect certain standards of behaviour from those with responsibility for this page’s output.
“In particular, it has become apparent that the account has recently become actively detrimental to the party’s core objectives: to promote Labour candidates and policies, and to win elections. We will be liaising with the Young Labour committee and representatives to ensure there is transparency and accountability for future posts from this account.”
Young Labour criticised Keir Starmer for “celebrating” closer cooperation by the NATO alliance while “attacking Stop The War and other pro-peace activists” following a piece written by the leader in The Guardian on the Ukraine conflict.
A Labour source told LabourList: “This is a small factional group that have taken over an official channel to spend their entire time tweeting bollocks. Their Twitter has been taken off them until they sort themselves out.”
A Momentum spokesperson said: “We strongly condemn this shameful and anti-democratic attack on young members within Labour. This is a blatantly factional move designed to silence critics of Labour’s direction under Starmer, exploiting a moment of global crisis.
“It’s also a recipe for disaster, as Starmer is set to further alienate the younger voters who are a key pillar of Labour’s core support. Sadly, this Labour leadership appears so vindictive that it will willingly cut off its nose to spite its face.”
A Labour to Win spokesperson told LabourList: “As the youth wing of the Labour Party, Young Labour has a responsibility to act in ways that don’t damage the reputation of the party.
“There has been a problem with their misuse of messaging for some time and, after the particularly crass and distasteful attempts to blame the war in Ukraine on NATO, it is right that head office has stepped in. We are not a party of Putin apologists.”
Starmer recently wrote that the Stop the War Coalition are “not benign voices for peace”, adding: “At best they are naive, at worst they actively give succour to authoritarian leaders who directly threaten democracies.”
The youth wing of the party tweeted that “NATO’s acts of aggression both historical and present are a threat to all of our safety” and said “stoking up tension, macho posturing & trying to outdo the Tories on hawkish foreign policy will only lead to further devastation”.
Young Labour also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine on social media on Thursday, sending “solidarity to the people of Ukraine” and saying that “the use of force and the contravention of international law is utterly reprehensible”.
David Lammy described the criticism issued by Young Labour as “lazy knee-jerk” anti-Americanism. He pointed to the “historical connection” between Labour and the military alliance, saying: “We were instrumental in setting up NATO”.
In an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Shadow Foreign Secretary laughed at the suggestion that “someone who is just out of university speaks on behalf of the Labour Party”. “They don’t speak on behalf the party. I speak on behalf of the party in relation to foreign policy,” he said.
The Labour Party and Young Labour have been contacted for comment.