Thursday 7 March 2019


While the national party continues to be hit by scandal after scandal, the local scene in parts of the country is not faring much better.  No MPs have quit the party this month, but there are plenty of key activists and councillors heading for the exit.

Carmarthenshire is the scene of the biggest number of resignations so far this week.  Five county councillors quit the party on Wednesday and will now serve as Independents.  Cllr Jeff Edmunds blamed a culture of "bullying and harrassment" for the joint decision.  Funnily enough the same language has been used in a string of resignations elsewhere around the country, including Salford, Merseyside and Sussex.  Also typical is the response from the local party.  Carmarthenshire Labour group leader Cllr Rob James denounced his former colleagues and accused Cllr Edmunds of having a "less than 25%" attendance record.  Straight out of the Owen Jones school for smearing anyone who leaves the cult!

A further four town councillors in Llanelli also quit on the same day, including the group leader Cllr Shahana Najmi.

In Gloucester it was 2017 Parliamentary candidate Barry Kirby who chose to ditch the party on Wednesday.  In his resignation letter he pointed to an increase in "bullying" as one of the reasons for his departure.  Do we see a pattern emerging here?  He also highlighted anti-Semitism and a "cult-like fanatical nature" surrounding Jeremy Corbyn.

Today it was announced that three Sandwell councillors have been deselected by Labour ahead of forthcoming local elections.  These include the mayor and deputy mayor, and brings to four the total of deselections in the borough (curiously, all women councillors).  This follows the mysterious suspension of the leader of Sandwell Council, Steve Eling, last month.  Having now resigned from the party, Eling claims that the deselections are a plot to undermine local MP Tom Watson, who has been highly critical of Corbyn recently.

On Tuesday the deputy lord mayor of Oxford was handed a 28 day domestic violence protection order.  Cllr Sajjad Malik has been a city councillor since 2004, but has now been suspended by the Labour party.  The protection order prohibits Cllr Malik from coming within 50 metres of an address in the city.

On Monday Wirral councillor Jo Bird was suspended by Labour after she mocked the party's handling of alleged anti-Semitism.  She told a meeting of her concern that anti-Semitism was being prioritised over other forms of racism and dubbed the party's disciplinary procedures "Jew process".