Yvonne Davies accused Labour of forcing her out to cover up misdeeds by local right-wingers
Former Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies has announced her resignation from the Labour party, accusing it of failing both to serve local people and to protect her from misogyny and abuse. Her statement is below;
I have today resigned from the Labour Party, as it no longer embodies the values of fairness and justice that made me join and serve it almost 40 years ago. I do this with a very heavy heart having worked for the party all my adult life.
I was suspended from the party in July last year having served as the Leader of Sandwell Council from May 2019. My suspension was based on fabricated allegations of anti-semitism as a result of a cynical trawl that the Party made of my twitter account from 2017 and 2018.
That people would go to such lengths to discredit me did not surprise me. My leadership had been based on establishing a new moral framework for conduct of council business based on honesty, transparency and integrity. At the same time, it had become clear that previous conduct of some elected members had fallen well short of expected standards in public life. There were, and still are, outstanding serious matters involving serious misconduct.
That people were prepared to go to any lengths to protect their own interests and to try and bury the truth was not a surprise. However, I retained some belief that the Party would at least engage with the allegations so that I could clear my name and get on with my work in Sandwell.
‘In more than 9 months I’ve heard precisely nothing from the party’
It’s now more than 9 months since I was suspended and I have heard precisely nothing at all from the Party regarding a fair hearing.
This is a party that stands on a platform of fairness, equality and social justice yet it cannot even deal fairly and justly with its own members. It cannot even administer a bog-standard process that thousands of organisations manage routinely to deal with allegations against its ownmembers. Worse than that, the Party nationally is conniving with local vested interests to freeze me out and to bury the truth about wrong-doing.
I have made many representations to senior figures, including the leader, the deputy leader and the current Mayoral candidate for the West Midlands Liam Byrne – who all know the reality of past wrong-doing in Sandwell – but no-one has lifted a finger to get the allegations against me dealt with.
The Party has failed to protect a strong female leader who sought nothing more than to embody the best of Labour tradition in fighting for local, accountable, public services led by politicians embodying the best of public service values. It has acted disgracefully and dishonourably and lacks all moral authority – certainly in the West Midlands, and most particularly in Sandwell – to seek people’s trust confidence.
In Sandwell, an increasing number of people are starting to realise this. We have a so-called ‘local’ Labour candidates chosen by the Party nationally with no regard for actual local decision-making. These include a candidate previously disgraced for misuse of a council phone. We have long-standing, loyal and more importantly very effective councillors, elbowed aside.
But Sandwell people do now have some choices. We have a refreshing number of candidates for the local elections on 6 May standing as Independents. I would urge Sandwell voters to think long and hard about how they cast their vote this year. Labour has had absolute power in Sandwell for too long and has not served its people well. It needs to be held to account by a strong independent opposition, so please support your independent candidate.
Labour will put the Labour Party first; Sandwell need councillors that put its people and their services first.
Yvonne Davies resigned as council leader last summer during a public meeting of councillors. Watch her resignation speech here.
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