A SENIOR member of a Hampshire Labour Party has been forced out of her position following her public support for a former leader of a far-right group, who was jailed for contempt of court last month.

After being elected as vice chair of Andover and North West Hampshire Labour just two months ago, Lauren Banville was removed from her role as second in command in a unanimous vote of no confidence taken by the party on Wednesday night.

Ms Banville had defended the English Defence League (EDL) co-founder Tommy Robinson on social media following his arrest, and sentencing on May 25.

Robinson pleaded guilty to contempt of court and was sentenced to 13 months in prison, after streaming a Facebook Live video outside Leeds Crown Court which published information that could prejudice an ongoing trial.

The judge said Robinson’s actions could have caused the trial to re-run costing ‘hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds’.

When contacted by the Advertiser, Ms Banville said regardless of her political position she will stick by her own ‘moral code’.

She added: “I didn’t think what he did was wrong.

“What he’s actually trying to do is empower people and give them the knowledge and on freedom of speech it is happening everywhere. The way that it has been done [his imprisonment] is extreme.

“On a personal level I grew up with him that is where I’m coming from.”

Ms Banville also took to Twitter sharing a Fox News interview with controversial British media personality Katie Hopkins also in support of Robinson, Tweeting: “saw the US/Beeb interview. Good content on Robinson. Sick our human rights being regularly violated”.

Andover and North West Hampshire Labour Party however said the former vice chair brought the local branch into ‘disrepute’ by defending the EDL figure, and falsely claiming to be a Labour Party Parliamentary candidate.

Chair of North West Hampshire Labour, Cllr Andy Fitchet said: ‘We made the right choice to remove the vice chair from her position and ask the Labour Party to review her membership.

“There is no place in the Labour Party for racism. The public defence of the founder of the EDL and of the rightwing commentator Katie Hopkins is entirely out of keeping with the views of the North West Hampshire Labour Party.

“We also have strong processes in place to select candidates, none of which had taken place.

“The Labour Party is an inclusive party who welcomes people from a variety of backgrounds and views. We admit that we need to be more careful in conveying to our officers what is expected when representing the Labour Party.

“We have also taken steps to strengthen our local processes.

“I want to stress there is absolutely no place in the Labour Party for racism in any kind.”

Since the vote Ms Banville wished not to comment.

However, she later posted on social media: "I am as of today ceasing my membership with the Labour party.

"I refuse to work with local members that are not united and believe false media over evidential truths.

"I am part of no political party at present.

"I refuse to compromise my morals and beliefs."