“You have committed the ultimate act of betrayal and I cannot forgive you, in the same way I could never forgive the S*n”. Three East Hants councillors quit party in disgust at Starmer – their explosive letters of resignation show their anger at his S*n column and much more
Three East Hampshire councillors have resigned from the Labour party in disgust over Keir Starmer’s appalling decision to become a S*n hack last weekend.
But the full resignation letters of Paula Langley, Gideon Cristofoli and Stephen Dolan reveal that their resignations were also driven by Starmer’s litany of dishonesty and attacks on democracy to ‘drain the life and soul’ from the once-great party, of which Starmer writing for the Murdoch rag was simply the ‘ultimate’ and ‘final’ act of ‘deceit and betrayal’.
Langley wrote (emphases added):
I was elected in 2018 to represent Alton Eastbrooke at East Hampshire District Council. I was the first ever Labour Councillor for my ward and the first at EHDC since the 1970’s. I was followed by Stephen Dolan for Alton Wooteys and my husband, Gideon Cristofoli, for Alton Town Council. This was a historic night for Alton Labour; in the Conservative heartlands we took 3 local seats by persuading many residents, who had never voted Labour before, to put their faith in us and the truly hopeful Labour manifesto that had just been produced.
I was inspired by that manifesto because it offered people a future that was fairer, more balanced. It inspired me to get involved with my community, set up a community bus, volunteer at the Community Cupboard and set up and run a Mutual Aid group during lockdown that had over 150 volunteers from all areas of our town. It inspired me to stand and get elected and I was so proud to represent a party who talked about the many, not the few.
During your leadership campaign you made promises to people like me that you have now broken. More worryingly, you seem determined to rid the party of people like me – committed members who are doing good things in the name of the Labour Party up and down the country – just because we once campaigned and were inspired by a different leader.
During your campaign you promised the people of Liverpool, my home town, and the party’s most loyal base, that you wouldn’t talk to The S*n. That indicates to me that you fully understand why we deplore that paper and all it represents. Anyone who lived in Liverpool at the time of Hillsborough can never forget what that paper said, just 4 days after that most horrific of days, whilst we still grieved our dead friends and family. As a Liverpool fan who lost a 17 year old friend, what they did was beyond unforgivable. The fact it took 28 years for them to admit they were wrong is even more distressing.
But it’s not just about Hillsborough. There are many communities that The S*n has made feel abused, over many decades. There has been a positive campaign that has spread beyond Merseyside, asking people not to buy The S*n and newsagents not to stock it.
By choosing to write for this paper, and it was a choice, you have done several things. You have legitimised the kind of ‘news’ this paper reports, despite knowing the pain they have caused to millions. You have said what they do and the lies they have told are ok. You have said to the people of Liverpool, and all those affected by Hillsborough, that, despite understanding their grief and their suffering, you are prepared to court the instigators of that pain. You have legitimised headlines that most of us find deplorable.
I want to remind you what the paper wrote in the aftermath of Hillsborough when the truth was that fans had been responsible for saving lives whilst the police stood in a line and watched. This is what my 18 year old self had to read.
Under the headline “The Truth” there were three subheadings:
Some fans picked pockets of victims
Some fans urinated on the brave cops
Some fans beat up PCs giving the kiss of life
The story read as follows: “Drunken Liverpool fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims of the Hillsborough soccer disaster, it was revealed last night.
“Police officers, firemen and ambulance crew were punched, kicked and urinated upon by a hooligan element in the crowd.
“Some thugs rifled the pockets of injured fans as they were stretched out unconscious on the pitch.
“Sheffield MP Irvine Patnick revealed that in one shameful episode a gang of Liverpool fans noticed that the blouse of a girl trampled to death had risen above her breasts.
“As a policeman struggled in vain to revive her, the mob jeered: ‘Throw her up here and we will **** her'”
Imagine being part of that day and then reading this, printed as truth. Imagine you have just identified the body of your child or been a fan who gave CPR or tried to pull people up to the stands above. Imagine anyone willing to believe that you could behave like this whilst witnessing such horror.
Imagine having to wait 28 years before anyone said sorry.
I cannot understand why you would or could choose to write for the paper that was prepared to do this.
It is because of this I am no longer able to stay in the party under your leadership because to me, your morality and integrity are forever flawed. I cannot stay as I feel to do so would be to accept your actions. You have committed the ultimate act of betrayal and I cannot forgive you, in the same way I could never forgive the S*n.
I understand those that want to stay and fight for change and I admire their tenacity. They will always have my support and solidarity. I hope for the day I feel able to rejoin under a leader who would never find it acceptable to write for such press and who can unite us all, providing the hope we need once again.
Dolan, also born on Merseyside, told Starmer:
cc David Evans
I am resigning from the Labour Party because of your betrayal of the Labour Party values. Reneging on the ten pledges mentioned in the leadership election, pledges used to get so much of the membership that had voted in the previous election to trust you and vote for you. This made me extremely uncomfortable and questioned your character and moral compass.
Attempting to unilaterally change the leadership voting process strengthened these thoughts. But the final act of betrayal carried out by you that sealed the deal was yet to come.
I am a 49 year old man born and raised in Bootle, Merseyside. I am proud of where I come from, the place that helped shape me. I remember the aftermath of Hillsborough locally within families, at school and across the entire community. I will never forget how that day was portrayed by The S*n.
You have let the party down and tarnished its reputation. This party is supposed to encourage a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect. How does that tally with The S*n? I struggle to comprehend why you would ever think that writing for them would be seen as acceptable by the members of the party. I am disgusted that you did so.
As an East Hampshire District Councillor I am passionate about putting forward strong, progressive, socialist ideas to improve the lives of the people of my ward and beyond. The people of my ward chose to vote in a Labour councillor for the first time I believe in over 40 years. I will continue to push for Socialist changes to society. I am disappointed that the Labour Party under your leadership no longer wants to do the same.
And Cristofoli added:
To Keir Starmer.
cc David Evans
I am hereby resigning from the Labour Party. I am a town councillor who along with my wife became the first labour candidates to ever win in our ward in Alton. We are resigning together along with Cllr Stephen Dolan.
Since you took over as Leader you have drained the life and soul from what was a passionate party with the strong belief that we could have a better society. I have felt deceived and betrayed by your words and actions.
You made ten pledges to the members to win the leadership election which you clearly have no intention of honouring. You have muzzled discussion and debate at CLPs and as a result membership attendance has dropped by over 75%.
‘A disgrace and a weapon of evil’
His letter continues:
The final act that has driven me to resign is your legitimising the S*n by writing an article for them. This tabloid is a disgrace and a weapon of evil. Its appalling lies in the aftermath of Hillsborough broke hearts and destroyed lives. It has continued to hound celebrities to suicide and harass those in terrible grief.
I will continue to work for a better society and continue with my many community projects outside the party as a true principled socialist.JFT97
Cllr Gideon Cristofoli
Alton Town Council (Eastbrooke)
Cristofoli serves on the town council, while Paula Langley and Stephen Dolan – who both grew up on Merseyside – were Labour’s only representatives on East Hants District Council. As a result of Starmer’s deceit and betrayal and his attacks on democracy and freedom of speech, Labour now has no representation – a mirror of the collapse he has driven in other parts of the country.
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