Express & Star

'The abandonment of the working class is inexcusable!' Wolverhampton councillor quits Labour Party

A former mayor of Wolverhampton and long-serving Labour councillor has resigned from the party, accusing the leadership of "abandoning the working class".

Last updated

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

Park ward councillor Claire Darke, who has been on the city council for 16 years and served as city mayor from 2019 to 2021, announced her resignation from the Labour Party today "with a heavy heart".

In a letter to party leader Sir Keir Starmer, Councillor Darke complained Labour "has strayed from the core values [she] once shared with the party".

She accused the party leadership of taking an "immoral stance" on the Israel/Palestine conflict and of becoming "increasingly autocratic". She also criticised the party's "commitment to austerity and Brexit" and said she would only support a party committed to reversing both.

Claire Darke

Councillor Darke said in the letter: "Today, with a heavy heart, I am resigning from the Labour Party.

"The Labour Party has strayed from the core values I once shared with the party. My political beliefs prevent me from compromising my principles for a party that appears to have none.

"My commitment to the people of Wolverhampton remains unwavering, but changes within the Labour Party compel me to resign.

"The Labour Party’s commitment to continued austerity and Brexit will further undermine jobs, education, and opportunities in our city. This abandonment of the working class is inexcusable.

"I will only support and vote for a party committed to rejoining the European Union, reversing austerity measures, and ending, for example, the dumping of waste in our water systems.

Claire Darke was formerly Mayor of Wolverhampton

"The Labour Party's stance on Palestine is morally wrong and ignores the suffering of the Palestinian people. I support the United Nations and the UN Human Rights Council calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, as well as an immediate ban on arms sales to Israel as well as sanctions.

"I hope my departure serves as a wake-up call to those who still believe in the original values of the Labour Party. It is time to return to true democratic principles, compassion, and unwavering support for human rights.

"I will continue to serve as a Park Ward councillor, as it is my duty to my constituents, having been elected for my beliefs in justice, equality, and a National Health Service run by and for the people, not for the profit of shareholders, which Labour now seem committed to."

Councillor Darke represented the Park ward as a Liberal Democrat councillor from 2008, until resigning from that party in 2010 over its national coalition with the Conservatives.

A Labour spokesman said: "Keir Starmer has changed the Labour Party into one that is proudly country first, with a manifesto for change.

"If we are privileged enough to be elected, then Labour will be returning the government to the service of working people. Voters on July 4 have a real choice between carrying on with what we have got, the failure of the last 14 years, or starting to rebuild the country with a Labour government."