Department offering PhD to Smith headed by fellow SWP member

Martin Smith, who resigned from the Socialist Worker’s Party in June following allegations of rape, has been awarded a funded PhD in Social Work at Liverpool Hope University.

Smith was cleared of the allegations in what has been criticised as a “kangaroo court” – an internal investigation comprising of a committee made up of those with strong connections to Smith. Critics have accused the SWP of being “rape apologists” and Smith’s suspension as a “slap on the wrist”.

The PhD is in the Social Work, Youth and Justice Department of Liverpool Hope University, which is headed by Michael Lavalette, a fellow SWP member who remains loyal to its leadership. A poster campaign has taken place at the University since, stating that Lavalette “clearly has no concern for the safety of women in this university.”

Case was never passed on to police

Smith was referred to as ‘Comrade Delta’ during a party conference in January 2013, over allegations of rape and sexual assault against a much younger female party member. The allegations were investigated and dismissed internally and the case was never passed on to police.

The young woman in question claimed to be subjected to inappropriate questions and accusations, including drug use and previous sexual history.

Many critics on the left have accused the party of poor internal management, such as Marxist writer Richard Seymour who accused the leadership of “rigged debates and gerrymandered votes”.

The young female member quitted the party following the incident, and stated that “we cannot have a revolution without fighting for the liberation of all oppressed groups – to cover up rape is oppressing women.”

In response to allegations of mishandling the case, Charlie Kimber, the party’s national secretary said: “The SWP strongly contests major elements of this account of the disputes committee hearing. The woman concerned brought serious accusations to our attention, we investigated, found against the accused and took prompt action. Those are the facts of this case.”