Election 2019

Leicester East Labour chairman quits 'laughing stock' party

Leicester East resignation letter
Image caption In his resignation letter John Thomas said Labour "is not the party I joined"

The chairman of a constituency Labour party (CLP) has resigned, criticising leader Jeremy Corbyn in a letter.

John Thomas, who is also a Leicester City Council representative, left his post at Leicester East, writing in a letter he "can no longer follow the clown that leads" the party.

He also criticised the choice of general election candidate for the constituency, saying it was "a fix".

Labour said Claudia Webbe, who grew up in the city, was an "excellent" choice.

Image copyright Leicester City Council
Image caption John Thomas (pictured) said Jeremy Corbyn had turned Labour "into a laughing stock"

In his letter Mr Thomas said allowing Ms Webbe, a councillor from Mr Corbyn's Islington CLP, to stand for election in Leicester East was "not democratic". It was recently announced that Keith Vaz would not be seeking re-election in the constituency.

Referring to Unite union leader Len McCluskey as a "Trotskyite", he said Mr Corbyn "has turned this great party into a laughing stock".

About his decision to resign, he said: "This is a great disappointment to me, realising that I have spent over 30 years of my life working for a party that I know now that I have nothing in common with.

"This is not the party I joined, the party for decent working people."

A Labour spokesperson said Ms Webbe had been chosen by a panel that included regional and local constituency representatives.

They added: "Claudia Webbe is a BAME woman who was born in and grew up in Leicester.

"Her knowledge of the constituency, her extensive experience as a councillor and as a campaigner for equality for all ethnic minority groups make her an excellent candidate."

As well as Ms Webbe, five other candidates are standing for election to be Leicester East's next MP: Tara Baldwin for the Brexit Party, Bhupen Dave for the Conservatives, Nitesh Dave for the Liberal Democrats, independent candidate Sanjay Gogia, and Melanie Wakley for the Green Party.

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