Chairs say they are first of many locals about to quit party – and some will stand against Labour in local elections
The chairs of both constituency Labour parties (CLPs) in the London Borough of Newham have dramatically resigned both their positions and their party mbership in the last few minutes, citing their disgust at Keir Starmer’s war on democracy, his lack of.opposition, his treatment of former party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s high and rising tide of Islamophobia.
East Ham chair Tahir Mirza’s letter of resignation lists Labour’s sorry history under Starmer – and warns that sole of thise leaving intend to stand against Labour in the spring’s local elections:
28th January 2022
LP Membership No: L0111065
I, Tahir Mirza, chair of East Ham Constituency Labour Party, am resigning my membership of the Labour Party with immediate effect, along with other current party members to follow.
I am resigning because, on a local scale, democratic rights and principles no longer have any value in either East or West Ham CLPs, both of which have been suspended since March 2021. The motive for this shutdown of party democracy is clearly to suppress free political rights, and to clear the way to allow candidates imposed by unaccountable party bureaucrats to be parachuted into office, rather than selected democratically by party members who have contributed their time, energies and financial donations into the party over many years. Local councillors have betrayed their electors by imposing harsh policies of Tory cuts, privatisations and gentrification, and have even shown Islamophobic behaviour towards party members.
On a national level, the current leadership of the party is offering no meaningful opposition to the most corrupt and reactionary Tory government in living memory, and stands for nothing except a wholesale purge of socialists from the party, using libellous smears of antisemitism and covert acts of Islamophobia.
We are especially outraged by the continued exclusion from the Parliamentary Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn, a hugely popular local MP and the most successful party leader in living memory.
We will continue our fight for the rights of Newham residents on such issues as emission charges, parking permits, the Silvertown tunnel, Stratford Circus, Queens Market, the Browning Road bridge, Durning Hall, the MSG Sphere, housing, road closures, a genuine climate change programme, and in-house services.
Our comrades have decided to stand in the local election and fight for the rights of Newham residents. Newham’s “red wall” will be brought down by EX-labour members and replaced by a real socialist wall.
This is just a start. Many more members and officers of East Ham and West Ham CLPs will be resigning in the coming days in protest at the bureaucratic antics of the current party leadership. We stand ‘For the many, Not the few’.
West ham chair Carel Buxton adds that Starmer’s – and the local party regime’s – Tory-mimicking betrays the people who need genuine change and a real Labour government:
LP Membership Number: L1245304
My Resignation from the Labour Party – Carel Buxton, Chair of West Ham CLP
Today I am resigning from the Labour Party and as Chair of West Ham CLP. I am doing so because the party under Sir Starmer no longer represents the interests of ordinary working people. It is now a pale version of the Tory party and offers no real opposition while at local level it passes on cuts from central government instead of fighting for more funding.
I first joined Labour in 1973 and rejoined when Ed Milliband became leader. Over several years I have been an active campaigner involved in both local and national elections as well as grassroots campaigning. I have worked hard for the LP in difficult circumstances and, at times, against opposition from within the party. Last year West Ham CLP along with East Ham was suspended on spurious grounds. The national party has taken away our right to have meetings and have silenced the voices of thousands of members. Newham is not alone. Suspensions of CLPs as well as individuals has happened across the country. Hundreds have had their membership ‘terminated’ on the flimsiest of reasons and often with no reason given. This is not the actions of a democratic party. This week we saw the NEC vote against reinstatement of our former leader, while a Tory MP with an obscene voting record can cross the house and become a ‘Labour’ MP. This is not the Labour Party I signed up for and I believe it is now morally as well as politically bankrupt.
At a local level Newham Council is incompetent. The evidence is all around us in the dirty streets, in the potholes in our roads and bins left unemptied. As it is one hundred percent Labour you would expect it to wield its power in support of local residents, but it doesn’t. A Labour Council should be campaigning and organising against the Silvertown Tunnel that will bring more pollution to Newham, but it isn’t. A Labour Council should be campaigning and organising against the MSG Sphere but instead it closes our City Farm and threatens Stratford Circus and Queens Market. We have the grotesque spectacle of gentrification across Newham. Luxury Flats spring up at unaffordable prices and the housing waiting list grows. Perhaps the final straw for locals was the report in the press of the Newham traffic camera netting a profit of £5.2million a year. So much for people at the heart of everything we do.
I take no pleasure in writing this resignation. My family have been Labour for generations: my father joined the party in 1951 and my grandmother in the 1930s. Labour has sold out its principles under Sir Starmer, who has reneged on every promise he made to win the leadership. Labour can no longer be trusted. We will keep fighting and supporting grassroots campaigns as a Shadow CLP: Newham Socialist Labour. We stand ‘For the many, Not the few’.
In 2017, 85% of Muslims who voted backed Corbyn’s Labour. In recent polling, 55% of those voters said they could not now vote for Labour. The Labour right’s rampant Islamophobia at the heart of LOTO is costing Labour its Muslim voters and others dismayed at the racism of the right.
Under the Starmer regime, Labour is struggling even to find local members willing to stand as candidates in local government elections in mamy areas and has resorted to begging people to put themselves forward. Now those who have served the party for years are downing tools in disgust at the politically bankrupt and morally repugnant so-called leadership and its war on democracy and decency.
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