Durham County Councillors quit Labour party after 'dismal' General Election
Jude Grant and Peter Brookes represent the Trimdon and Thornley ward within Tony Blair’s former Sedgefield constituency, which fell to the Conservative Party in last week’s poll.
But despite Jeremy Corbyn’s confirmation he will stand down as leader after overseeing the loss of 59 seats, both said they could not continue as Labour members and would instead sit as independent councillors.
In an open letter posted on Twitter, they said: “The Labour leader and his team didn’t have anything to offer them except unicorns and fantasy, yet abused people when they chose not to sign up to worship at the altar of Corbynism.
“Unlike the current Labour leadership, we still believe in the traditional Labour values of fairness, equality, aspiration and patriotism at our core.
“Unfortunately, the current Labour Party has left us, abandoned these traditional values and moved to the far left. To a place where we and local voters cannot and should not have to go.”
The letter, posted on the night of December 16, blamed Labour’s dismal election campaign on a ‘hard left cult of Corbyn’ which had taken over the party.
And it also claimed they had been ‘warned’ not to comment publicly on the ‘current leadership’.
The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.
Coun Grant and Coun Brookes’s resignation letter in full:
It is with great sadness that we write to inform you of our decision to leave the Labour Party.
After a combined membership of over 60 years we have concluded that we can no longer proudly call ourselves Labour members.
The current Labour leadership, along with their team and supporters, have presided over the worst election defeat since 1935.
Yet, instead of acknowledging the reasons for such a blistering defeat themselves, they have sought to blame everyone else, including the voters.
From branch level to the shadow cabinet, they have refused to listen to everyday folk who felt they could not, as decent upstanding citizens, vote for such an inept leader and his team.
On Thursday night the leader and his team should have taken responsibility for leaving the country at the mercy of a hard right Tory Prime Minister and resigned immediately.
The hard left cult of Corbyn which has taken over the party at every level has let down our community.
They failed to offer a viable and credible alternative. Instead, so unattractive was the offer from the Labour Party that despite being responsible for the catastrophic cuts which continue to devastate our communities voters continued to believe the Tory party was the better option.
The Labour leader and his team didn’t have anything to offer them except unicorns and fantasy, yet abused people when they chose not to sign up to worship at the altar of Corbynism.
Unlike the current Labour leadership, we still believe in the traditional Labour values of fairness, equality, aspiration and patriotism at our core.
Unfortunately, the current Labour Party has left us, abandoned these traditional values and moved to the far left. To a place where we and local voters cannot and should not have to go.
Those of us who tried to warn Labour what was to come if they continued down this path have been ignored and at worst silenced. Only yesterday we were warned not to comment on the current leadership in public and as ever debate between local councillors was shut down.
Our priority has always been, and will continue to be, representing the people of our ward. We work hard to make sure the communities we live in thrive, and to make sure their voice is heard at County Hall. Sadly, at every turn our ideas have been halted and we feel that we cannot continue to represent our community with the passion and hard work needed if we cannot express our views freely. As always, we will serve the people of our area to the best of our ability but will now do so as independent councillors.
We hope someday the Labour Party will once again become the greatest vehicle for social change and progress this country has, but sadly we do not envisage this happening any time soon.
We would like to thank those of you who have sent messages of support both publicly and privately over the last few days and hope to continue to work with many of you for the benefit of our local area.
Coun Jude Grant and Coun Peter Brookes.