Ex-Sandwell Council leader: Labour 'corrupt' after election exclusions
A former council leader has branded Labour “corrupt” after two councillors were expelled from the party hours before a leadership election.
Bill Cherrington and Julie Webb were kicked out on the day Councillor Yvonne Davies was voted Sandwell Council leader in May.
Councillor Davies won by two votes – prompting accusations that the move was premeditated.
Steve Eling, a former council leader of Sandwell Council, said: “This is clear corrupt gerrymandering by the Labour party. Labour is absolutely rotten to the core.
“There is resentment boiling under the surface from ordinary Labour Party members.”
Mr Eling stood down in May’s council elections after he was suspended by Labour in January over a complaint. He has not yet been charged with anything.
Mr Cherrington and Ms Webb are now independent councillors for their respective wards, which are Princes End and Cradley Heath with Old Hill.
They were excluded from the leadership vote for wishing political opponents David and Shirley Hosell “good luck” in Facebook messages ahead of the council elections.
Under party rules campaigning for opposition candidates results in an automatic exclusion.
Mr and Mrs Hosell had themselves been deselected by Labour ahead of the elections and ran as independents.
Councillor Webb, a Labour Party member of 22 years, said: “I feel aggrieved. I have never done anything to bring the party into disrepute or been in front of the whip.”
A senior Labour source in Sandwell told the Express & Star that the exclusions were “deliberate interference” by the party.
The source said the move was designed to “get at” Labour deputy leader and West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson, who has been an outspoken critic of racism and bullying in the party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
The source said: “Sandwell has the best election results in the country. Labour decided to start a war here.”
Councillor Davies said: “The Labour Party has rules for Labour members. I don’t have any part in making them, shaping them, or judging people against them.”
A West Midlands Labour spokesperson said: “Any allegation of corruption is categorically untrue.”
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