HE is the flashy hard-Left firebrand with a “massive ego” who divided the Labour Party.
Derek Hatton, 71, was suspended by Labour this week over alleged anti-Semitic comments — just 48 hours after being readmitted following a 33-year absence.
PA:Press Association Derek Hatton, 71, was suspended by Labour this week over alleged anti-Semitic comments
Corbis – Getty Hatton made a fortune in 2008 when he and son Ben sold their tech business Rippleffect for £5.8million
The news reflects how far to the left Labour has lurched and came just hours after Luciana Berger, who is Jewish, quit the party with six other MPs, citing a “bullying anti-Semitic culture”.
Today The Sun on Sunday plots the path of Liverpool Council’s former deputy leader from radical leftie to hypocrite loadsamoney, as well as the time naked snaps of him were sent to a TV glamour model by his fiancée.
We lift the lid on how the one-time tailor’s apprentice owned a £1.5million pad in Cyprus, made a fortune selling holiday homes and was spotted this week driving a £70,000 Mercedes GLS with his initials on the number plate.
We also reveal how “Dapper Degsy” has repeatedly gone back on his word — first ruling out a return to politics and declaring “serious doubts” about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn before cosying up to him.
Richard Kemp, 66, a Liverpool councillor when Hatton rose to power in the 1980s, said: “It’s the Hatton hokey-cokey.
“You put your left fist up and your left boot in. People here can’t believe Labour are letting him back in.
“When he was in charge, the only cranes for 20 years had a wrecking ball at the end of them.
“You have got to be dubious of a Corbynista socialist who became vastly rich developing properties abroad.
“It’s not what you would call radical socialism, is it? There’s no doubt he is good entertainment value. I go for a drink with him now and again.
“He is quite good company but he does speak a load of b*****ks.”
Not known, clear with picture desk Sonjia Eccleston, 22 years his junior, she sent X-rated snaps of herself with Hatton to glamour model Katie Clegg
Mercury Press The ex-Liverpool Council deputy leader was spotted this week driving a £70k Mercedes GLS with a personalised number plate
It’s deja vu all over again1983
Female Prime Minister (Margaret Thatcher)
Liverpool top of the First Division
Derek Hatton in Labour, deputy leader of Liverpool council
Special AKA high in the charts
Car industry crisis (Leyland)
Social Democratic Party fight election
Hard-Left Labour leader (Michael Foot)
Female Prime Minister (Theresa May)
Liverpool top of the Premier League
Derek Hatton back in Labour (pending investigation)
The Specials top of the album charts
Car industry crisis (Honda)
Breakaway MPs launch new party
Hard-Left Labour leader (Jeremy Corbyn)
Hatton announced it was “good to be back” as he rejoined the party, insisting he had “stayed absolutely solid” for Labour for 34 years.
His return infuriated Labour voters in the city, many of whom blame him for destroying their livelihoods.
The one-time member of Trotskyist faction Militant Tendency is one of the most divisive figures in Labour history.
In 1985, in protest against PM Margaret Thatcher’s “managed decline” of the city, Hatton forced through an illegal budget at Liverpool Council — a £30million gamble he boasted Thatcher would have to make good on. But she refused, forcing the council to take on loans it only cleared 15 years later. The resulting chaos devastated much of the local workforce. Some 31,000 staff, including teachers, health workers and civil servants, were stunned to receive redundancy notices delivered by TAXI.
Mass protests followed, with one banner in the city centre reading: “Hitler only destroyed half our city, Hatton tried for the lot.”
It sparked Labour’s then-leader Neil Kinnock to set about ridding Labour of its most extreme left-wingers, lambasting the “grotesque chaos” of Hatton’s council. Just months before Kinnock banished him from the party, Hatton sacked six staff from Liverpool’s Harthill Gardens, known as the “Kew of the North”, after they refused to go on strike because they feared the impact any absence would have on the plants.
To compound their misery, the council then bulldozed the gardens.
Asked about the incident ten years later, Hatton blamed trade unions for the closure, saying: “I don’t remember any ‘poor old gardeners’. I do remember a dispute we had that involved the trade union.”
Hatton, 71, and model fiancee Sonjia Eccleston, 22 years his junior, in a Twitter snap
FLASHY CHANCER OBSESSED WITH MONEY
Ex-Liverpool mayor Malcolm Kennedy, a councillor with Hatton in the Eighties, said: “He was a man who liked the limelight, a man of many talents, certainly very charismatic but whose politics were abhorrent.
“The avenues he and others took the Labour Party down were disastrous for the party and for Liverpool.
“Our reputation was destroyed. Liverpool was left in a desperate state. Even at the height of Militant, Derek was treated with suspicion by many of the militants themselves, who saw him as a chancer. He wasn’t the Trotskyist they craved, just a great self-publicist.”
After being expelled from Labour, Hatton took every opportunity to stay in the public gaze, even hiring disgraced PR guru Max Clifford.
Next came stints as a £200,000-a-year DJ for Talk Radio and Century FM, advertising Sekonda watches and doing panto as “King Rat” in Dick Whittington. He made a fortune in 2008 when he and son Ben sold their tech business Rippleffect for £5.8million.
Its success let Hatton buy a £1.5million mansion in Cyprus and, later, a £350,000 apartment in Liverpool’s smart Aigburth suburb.
His comments in an interview in 2008 about the Cyprus property will jar with socialist followers. He said: “There is low income tax (ten per cent), zero inheritance tax and a system of English law which makes it easy to invest. I never thought I’d be able to afford a villa. I sit and look out to sea. As an atheist, it’s my heaven.”
The father of four had flash cars including a Jaguar with the number plate DEG 5Y and a £60,000 Range Rover before his current £70,000 Merc — which features a plate referring to Everton football club.
He set up a property firm, Morpheus Investments, selling Cypriot properties to Brits. In 2010, the firm went into liquidation. He owed creditors a reported £400,000.
Hatton said in 2009: “I’m not sure what a socialist can be any more.” He added: “I can’t understand why anyone would want to go into politics now.”
In 2005, he split from wife Shirley after 34 years of marriage.
Three years later he began dating his business partner Danielle Maxton — 31 years his junior. In 2014, he was spotted with model Sonjia Eccleston, 22 years his junior, quaffing champagne and kissing at Chester races.
You have got to be dubious of a Corbynista socialist who became vastly rich developing properties abroadEx-Liverpool councillor Richard Kemp
Two years later, she sent X-rated snaps of herself with Hatton to glamour model Katie Clegg, who she had met on a Botox training course. Sonjia is now engaged to Hatton. On Saturday night, Katie said: “The way they messaged me suggested this might not have been the first time. They were looking for people to have fun with. I was sent naked pictures of Derek and shots of Sonjia’s bum and boobs.
“She then sent me pictures of Derek, naked, grabbing her bum. I had 3am calls asking what I was up to and whether I could meet them. The weird memories came flooding back when I heard Derek had rejoined Labour.”
Controversy is rarely far away.
In 1993 Hatton was acquitted of fraud, while another case saw him cleared of swindling insurers out of £45,000. At Liverpool Council he faced accusations of sexism but it was a 2012 tweet that got him suspended this week.
The post, since deleted, said: “Jewish people with any sense of humanity need to start speaking out publicly against the ruthless murdering being carried out by Israel.”
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In 2017, tweeting about Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on an Article 50 Brexit vote, Hatton said he had “serious doubts about him” before going on to describe the Labour leader as “brilliant” a year later.
On his Twitter profile, Hatton says: “You can live many lives.”
With “Degsy”, that much is true.
Armani suits, minders and a lost fingerDEREK Hatton has always been a controversial figure – even when he was a nobody.“Degsy” was a rich source of stories for the local paper where I started out. A cocky community development officer at Knowsley Council, he gossiped about everything from political bust-ups to the cost of the chief executive’s new office carpet.
He was seen as a wide boy but quickly charmed his way into the national spotlight. He was elected a member of Liverpool City Council on the day Margaret Thatcher became PM – and the die was cast for the bitter battles that followed.
Council meetings were something else. A Liberal councillor had his finger bitten off by a dog while pushing a leaflet through a letterbox.
Every time he stood up to speak, a small group of Labour members around Degsy would howl like hounds. It was even claimed he moved a motion congratulating the dog.
As deputy leader of the council, Hatton had the air of a Mafia boss – wearing shiny Armani suits, a pair of minders in tow. It would be easier to gatecrash the Oscars than get past his guards when he was drinking in the Vernon Arms.
He spurred the Labour-run council to pay its workers to go to a TUC rally. When told it could cost taxpayers £250,000, Degsy said: “It will be money well spent.”
A few years later, he splashed more public cash hiring a fleet of taxis to send redundancy notices to more than 30,000 staff.
His rallies drew crowds almost as big as Liverpool FC, and Alan Bleasdale based his hit TV series GBH on Degsy’s antics.
Labour leader Neil Kinnock came to Merseyside to act as peacebroker at the height of the crisis.
Hatton emerged from a meeting to proclaim Kinnock had given his backing to the council’s stand against Thatcher’s government. We all rushed to file our stories – but an hour later, a stunned Kinnock insisted he had done no such thing.
He was furious and weeks later delivered a famous speech at the Labour Conference condemning Hatton’s Militant-led council.
Degsy was suspended from the party in 1986 and quit as deputy leader of the city he had almost bankrupted.
But the working-class hero built a new career as a capitalist, driving through Liverpool in a Jaguar XJ6. He proudly bought the number plate DEG 5Y. He coined it in as a model, radio host, PR man, after-dinner speaker and property dealer.
And as this week has shown, he still loves creating a stir.
By David Wooding, Sunday Political Editor
Rex Features Derek Hatton at the head of a Militant Tendency march in the Eighties
Getty – Contributor A crowd furious with Derek Hatton in 1986, the year he was booted out of Labour, with banner reading: ’Hitler only destroyed half our city. Hatton tried for the lot’
Rex Features The former politician had a turn in panto at Ashton as King Rat
Mirrorpix Derek Hatton with his first wife Shirley at Mold Crown Court for a fraud trial
Neil Kinnock slams Labour’s far-left Militant faction during rousing 1985 conference speech as Derek Hatton heckles him