Second senior Sandwell councillor quits Labour within two days

A former Sandwell Council cabinet member has become the second senior councillor to quit Labour within two days.

Councillor Joanne Hadley
Councillor Joanne Hadley

Councillor Joanne Hadley resigned today, blaming "ongoing attempts to cover up political corruption in the Sandwell Labour Group".

It follows the resignation of former Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies,who quit Labour on Wednesday, claiming the party was attempting to "bury the truth about wrongdoing" at the local authority.

Councillor Hadley, who represents Great Bridge ward, says she will continue as an independent candidate, with plans to launch a new political group called the Sandwell Independent Party.

Councillor Hadley was previously a cabinet member for safety communities. In September last year, she was suspended following allegations of racism.

She denied those allegations and claimed recordings that were made of her were doctored.

Joanne Hadley's resignation statement in full:

I have today resigned from the Labour party as I’m disgusted by the ongoing attempts to cover up political corruption in the Sandwell Labour Group as well its treatment of strong local women.

The party has elbowed aside excellent female standing councillors and faceless party officials from London have imposed candidates, including one who has committed gross misconduct – which is a disgrace.

I’m not prepared to stay in a party that has no place for strong local women.

I was a member of the Sandwell Cabinet for 18 months under Yvonne Davies and we worked so hard to clean-up politics in the borough and to uncover the corruption and cronyism that had been how Labour had run Sandwell for many years.

Suspending and deselecting councillors is part of a concerted attempt by the party to bury this and to prevent councillors being held to account for wrongdoing.

They’ll sell the people of Sandwell down the river just to protect their own friends.

I’ve lived in Sandwell for all my life. I’ve run a business here. I’m part of the community, it runs through my blood.

We desperately need an opposition in Sandwell Council. I’ve tried to fight it from the inside, but it’s a one-party state and the corrupt party machine just protects its own and spits you out.

I will now represent Great Bridge ward as an independent councillor and the people of Great Bridge can be assured that I will continue to fight for local interests with my usual passion.

What Sandwell Council needs is a strong independent party to hold the Labour group to account. I am committing myself to working to establish that Sandwell Independent Party.

We also need the voters in Sandwell to take a stand against Labour corruption in the Council and to signal this at the ballot box on May 6.

People have a choice and an opportunity to make a difference.

They need to recognise that the Labour party in Sandwell will always put the Labour Party first rather than the people of the Sandwell.

Sandwell needs councillors that put people and services first.

Response

In response to the statement, a spokesman for West Midlands Labour said: "Our refreshed local team – with 17 women and 11 black, Asian and ethnic minority candidates – stands ready to open a new and positive chapter for Sandwell, while nationally Labour continues to fight the Conservatives over the return of Tory sleaze."

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