Slough: Councilors resign over Diane Abbott row and Gaza

Image caption, Diane Abbott has only recently been told she can stand as a Labor candidate

  • Author, Nick Clark
  • Role, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Seven councilors have resigned from the Labor Party over the treatment of Diane Abbott and Faiza Shaheen, the party’s position on Gaza and the comments of the local MP.

Slough Borough Council councilors said arguments over whether the pair could stand for office highlighted “institutional racism” within Labour.

Ms Shaheen was blocked as a Labor candidate in Chingford and Woodford Green, north London, due to historic social media posts, while Ms Abbott was only recently told she would be allowed to stand again following her recent suspension from Labor.

A Labor spokesperson said: “We are focused on electing a Labor government and delivering the change people in Slough and across the country need.”

Councilors Zaffar Ajaib, Sabia Akram, Haqeeq Dar, Mohammed Nazir, Naveeda Qaseem, Waqas Sabah and Jamilia Sabah were all issued a statement announcing their resignation late on Monday.

In the statement, councilors said they felt they had “no choice but to resign”.

“We must remain true to our values ​​and conscience, even if the party we once believed in has abandoned it,” the statement said.

Councilors also made several references to Labour’s position on the war in Gaza – and its unwillingness to support motions in parliament calling for a ceasefire.

And they criticized current Slough MP Tan Dhesi for accusing an independent candidate, Azhar Chohan, of “poisoning” the town.

Image source, labour party

Image caption, The councilors said Tan Dhesi had “redoubled his efforts to foment division between two religious groups”

Mr Chohan – himself a former member of the Labor Party – listed support for Palestine as one of his campaign promises, and has the backing of an organization called Muslim Vote.

But in a statement highlighting this, Mr Dhesi warned people not to be “duped” by people who “ask one particular faith community to vote in a bloc”.

The resignation statement suggested that the councilors would remain on Slough Borough Council as independents.

Tan Dhesi told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he had been consulting with some outgoing councilors throughout the weekend, and said they had not raised their concerns with him at the time.

He said: “It is very strange that some of them were talking to me recently, including in the last two days, and did not raise such grievances.”

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