Somerset

Sedgemoor Labour leader quits over anti-Semitism and Brexit

Diego Rodrigues Image copyright Somerset Labour
Image caption Mr Rodrigues won his Labour seat in Fairfax in May 2019

The leader of the Labour group on Sedgemoor District Council in Somerset has announced he is quitting the party over "Brexit infighting" and the party's handling of anti-Semitism.

Diogo Rodrigues wrote a blog on Friday explaining why he is critical of the Labour Party nationally.

Bridgwater's deputy Labour leader, councillor Brian Smedley said the news came as a "bolt out of the blue".

Mr Rodrigues will continue to serve in the area as an independent councillor.

The former Mayor of Bridgwater said: "Before any rumours start spreading or lies start being spouted I want to let you know [that] today I resigned as a member of the Labour Party."

He said he has been "a committed member of the Labour party with its clear principles of fairness, equality and opportunity for all.

"But for some time I have felt myself feeling more and more disenfranchised and disconnected from the Party."

'Astounded'

"The Labour Party has not conveyed a strong and positive message about the future of the UK post-Brexit, instead conveying a message more on the lines of damage limitation, and I believe this is one of its biggest downfalls."

"The party seems to be in a mess... fighting with itself and as a result failing in its leadership. Because of this, at this moment, I feel I have been pushed away and can no longer be part of the Labour Party.

Mr Smedley said the resignation was: "So unbelievable I assumed it was a joke and had to check he hadn't been hacked."

He said he was "astounded" that it was genuine and: "Immediately tried to talk him out of it but his mind had been made up."

Moving forward, he said the party will: "Simply close ranks, lick our wounds and carry on the struggle" to deliver the manifesto.

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