Labour tells 19 Leicester councillors they cannot stand in May election
Some intend to defect or stand as independents after ‘undemocratic’ deselection of mostly BAME councillors
The Labour party in Leicester has been left reeling after 19 sitting councillors, the majority of them from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, were deselected by the national committee.
About 40% of Labour’s councillors in the city have been told they cannot stand in May’s election, after party figures decided to appoint an NEC board to choose Leicester’s council candidates rather than leave the decision to local members.
A number of deselected councillors have stated they will stand as independent candidates, while others are considering defecting to other parties.
There is particular anger over the fact the majority of deselected councillors are from BAME backgrounds, in a city where the 2021 census revealed 59% of residents are from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Fifteen of the party’s 26 BAME councillors in Leicester have been told they cannot stand, a total of 58%, compared with four of the 22 white Labour councillors.
Labour sources insist BAME representation and the number of women candidates will increase as a result of the decisions.
Sharmen Rahman, a Labour councillor for the Stoneygate ward, is one of those who has been deselected and said candidates felt “betrayed and hurt” by the decisions. “I’ve given up my time with my family to fight for Labour. It feels like despite all the time and energy we’ve put into the party, we’re disposable,” she said. “It is absolutely undemocratic. The grassroots of the party, none of them have had any say in this process.”
She added that the fact a large proportion of BAME councillors had been deselected would not be lost on voters, especially when they have been working to help communities heal from the violence that rocked east Leicester last year.
“That message will be taken in by the communities, it’s like they’re saying BAME faces are interchangeable; as long as they replace a brown face with a brown face they’ll get the BAME vote,” she said. “But people look for a proven track record and commitment to the local community.
“It has really sent shock waves through Leicester and especially because this is a majority minority city, to have minority elected representatives treated like this is just going to exacerbate misgivings towards the party.”
Labour has held overall control of Leicester city council since 2007, and currently holds 47 of the 54 seats, led by a directly elected mayor, a role held by Sir Peter Soulsby since it was created in 2011. All council seats and the role of mayor are up for election in May.
Rita Patel, a councillor for the Rushey Mead ward, has announced she will stand as an independent candidate for mayor, with a view to scrapping the role if elected. Earlier this month she was suspended by the Labour party for six months for backing a motion to abolish the post, and she has since resigned from the party.
“I’ve been a member of the party for decades, I’ve always been about communities, social justice, equality, all of the things that I thought the Labour party stood for,” she said. “I feel as if the party is moving away from its own values, and hence I have to step outside as an independent to make my voice heard.”
She added: “They are alienating members of the Labour party. I’ve had people say to me: if your party cannot take care of its own members, how the hell is it going to take care of the city, or the country when it gets in government? And I think that’s a legitimate question to ask.”
Last week, Patrick Kitterick, a deselected councillor, announced he would be standing as a Green party candidate in May, telling LeicesterLive that “the Labour party has changed for the worse” and “crushes any dissent or opinion”.
In an email to local party branches, the Labour party’s regional director, Richard Oliver, said an NEC panel had been convened to select the city’s candidates due to “concerns about the process”.
The Labour party declined to comment.
But there will be more BAME and women candidates bleated some Labour twat (bolded section). As if that is all that mattered.
Starmer is such a piece of shit.
...no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party...So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.
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