Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party has suspended a councillor and told him that he cannot seek re-election.
The suspension of veteran party member Leigh Farrow was reported in the current issue of the Brighton and Hove Independent.
The free weekly newspaper yesterday (Friday 1 August) described the suspension as “the latest twist in a long-running battle over who should represent the party in one of its safest seats”.
Councillor Farrow, 59, has represented Moulsecoomb and Bevendean ward on Brighton and Hove City Council since May 2011.
The Brighton and Hove Independent said that Councillor Farrow was “the victim of what one party insider described as ‘a witch-hunt by the people who pull all the strings’”.
The newspaper said: “He has told friends he fears he might be expelled from the party by opponents outside the ward who want to replace him with a favoured candidate.
“He has formally lodged an appeal to the Southeast Regional Labour Party.
“The latest dispute comes only months after Councillor Farrow successfully appealed – while recovering from a double bypass operation following a heart attack last November – against a decision by party chiefs not to allow him to go on the official list of potential candidates.
“It also follows a rerun of the Labour Party selection contest in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean after an initial meeting ended in near-farce, when the votes of eight ward members were ‘miscounted’.
“The threat of disciplinary action follows a brief row with fellow Labour councillor Chaun Wilson, the party’s housing spokesperson, before a meeting of the council’s housing committee in June.
“In a 10-minute pre-meeting, Councillor Farrow swore at Councillor Wilson after she passed on voting instructions from Councillor Gill Mitchell, the Labour Group whip.
“Last week, in a hand-delivered letter, Mel Davis, chair of Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party, told Councillor Farrow he could not stand as a candidate in next May’s elections.
“The letter reinforced messages from Councillor Mitchell, who had referred the matter to the city party’s executive committee.”
There is a belief among some party members that the safe seat has been promised to Harris Fitch whose great uncle Brian Fitch is the current mayor of Brighton and Hove.