Brighton and Hove Labour group moves to exclude suspended councillor

Posted On 06 Aug 2021 at 10:36 am

The Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council has written to the council’s chief executive to exclude a councillor from their ranks.

They have told Mr Raw that they do not want Councillor Anne Pissaridou to be included in the Labour group although she is understood to remain a party member.

She was suspended by the party just over a year ago but her suspension is understood to be about to end. This is a matter for the national party rather than the local group.

She was one of three members of the Labour group who were suspended over alleged anti-semitic posts on social media.

As a result, two of them – Kate Knight and Nikkie Brennan – resigned from the party and have since sat as independents.

The two resignations meant that Labour was no longer the largest political group on the council and handed over the running of the council to the Greens.

Councillor Nancy Platts, who was leader of the council and the Labour group at the time, is understood to have led the efforts to deal with accusations of anti-semitism within the group and asked Councillor Pissaridou to resign.

The baton has been picked up by her successor as leader of the Labour group, Councillor John Allcock.

This morning he wrote to Mr Raw to request formally that Councillor Pissaridou be excluded from the group.

The group said that members “feel Councillor Pissaridou must do more to re-educate, rehabilitate, apologise and rebuild trust with the local Jewish community, following the circumstances around her suspension”.

The group added: “The Brighton and Hove Labour Group are clear that there is no room for anti-semitism or any other form of racism in our party, on our council or in our city.

“That’s why we pledged to become an anti-racist council and we remain committed to delivering on that promise.”

An email from Councillor Allcock to the group said: “I have sent a letter this morning to the chief executive of the city council informing him under the provisions of the Local Government (Committees and Political Groups) Regulations 1990 that members who form a majority of the Labour group, no longer wish Councillor Anne Pissaridou to be a member of the Labour group.

“We have agreed to review this exclusion in six months.

“Assuming Anne remains a Labour Party member, the whip will not be withdrawn.”

Councillor Anne Pissaridou

To read about the reasons for the suspension of Councillor Pissaridou last year, click here.

At the time she said: “I am deeply sorry for my actions and any distress I have caused to the Jewish community.

“This happened several years ago, before I was a councillor, and the posts I shared do not reflect my views.

“I do not seek to excuse my mistake. I deeply regret not properly reading information before sharing such hurtful links.

“I am aware of the complaint that has been made to the Labour Party and will fully co-operate with any investigation.”

The national Labour Party said this morning (Friday 6 August): “Under Nancy Platts’ leadership, Brighton and Hove City Council acted decisively to tackle anti-semitism and promoted education on rooting out anti-semitism within the Labour group of councillors.

“The EHRC’s (Equality and Human Rights Commission’s) report did not cast blame on individuals.

“It pointed to a collective failure of leadership which the Labour party has worked closely with the commission to put right by accepting and implementing its recommendations in full.

“In her time working for the Labour Party, Nancy Platts had no role in processing complaints, including those of anti-semitism.

“There is no place for anti-semitism in the Labour party and the party fully supports the action taken by Nancy to root out anti-semitism and rebuild the trust that the party lost with the Jewish community.

“The party will be standing full square behind Nancy in her efforts on this issue and we will act quickly and decisively to counter malign attempts to tarnish Nancy’s excellent record.”

  1. Jonathan Simons Reply

    Too little too late from B&H Labour as usual. So they don’t want her to be in their group but they also won’t remove the whip and remains a labour member. So she’s still a labour councillor?? This is not taking action, this is dodging it.

    • Jenny Mullins Reply

      That’s what they are trying to do … personally I believe Cllr Pissaridou should have been expelled by the Labour Party, but at least locally she is effectively being barred from re-joining the Group.

  2. Nathan Adler Reply

    Good to see Labour is taking measures locally regardless of the national party decisions.

  3. Lucy Graham Reply

    What utter codswallop. What antisemitism? Antisemitism has been weaponised as a means of justifying the Gaza massacres and the ethnic cleansing of East jerusalem.

    Just tell me what racism Jews experience today compared to Black people? Are they being deported, stopped and searched disproportionately, subject to police violence?

    This is the hoax of the 21st century

    And who turned up to the latest pro-Israel demonstration? Tommy Robinson. That’s who the real friends of Zionism are today

    • Anti-racism Reply

      How is this kind of racist comment allowed on this site?

      • Lucy Graham Reply

        How is pointing out that Tommy Robinson not only joined but was welcomed on the pro-Israel demonstration ‘racist’? You can read it here

        The real question is why Robinson, Trump, Orban and many other GENUINE anti-Semites love the State of Israel and Zionism.

        Or maybe referring to the Gaza massacres and the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem is anti-semitic?

        People like the misnamed ‘Anti-racism’ drain antisemitism of all meaning. Antisemitism has nothing to do with criticising Israel/Zionism. It is about hostility/hatred/violence/discrimination against Jews as Jews. Nothing more.

        It is not antisemitic to call Israel what it is, an apartheid state. If it is then Human Rights Watch, Israel’s main human rights organisation Btselem and Amnesty International are also antisemitic.

        But no doubt ‘anti-racism’ would have applauded Donald Trump’s attempt to brand HRW and AMnesty as antisemitic?

        A few members of the chattering classes may insist that antisemitism is criticism of Israel but 90% of the population don’t agree.

  4. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    When on the Council I was the only Councillor to send my commiserations to cllr Pissaridou on the Christmas-time anniverary of her husband’s death, and she wrote a nice reply to me. That said, I am still shocked that a few months later she – as did the recently-widowed Bob Carden – went along with cllr Morgan’s fatuous “vote of no confidence” in the Green Administration (which had taken on many of the problems created by her Party, such as the Bins).

    • Peter Challis Reply

      Hi Chris – I’m confused – what has your nice communication with Anne got do to with the “vote of no confidence”?

      Do you think Anne should have voted against the vote because of your previous interaction?

      Perhaps you would also like to comment on Anne being so helpful to the Greens in pushing the full Pesticide Ban (well just use of one herbicide by council operatives), and installing the temporary A270 cycle lane extension, for the Greens by implementing the schemes without consulting the ETS committee, or councillors in affected wards.

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        I had also walked up Bear Road with a bag on my head as protection from the rain on the way to the funeral of cllr Carden’s wife.

        I still feel upset at their petty vote. This was not a matter of policy differences (which would be understandable) but of their going along with cllr Morgan’s fatuous Vote of No Confidence, something of no substance (as was shown by his not carrying it through: that showed him to be a weak man, one who always read out speeches from cards held at his waist).

  5. Susie Reply

    Hasn’t the co-leader of B&H Labour, cllr Apic8 called some fellow cllrs bithe*? Is it okay is it? Is she being suspended?

    • Malcolm Reply

      And Green councillor Neild lied at full Council and refused to apologise

      • Chealsea Reply

        Look over there! Nice deflection 😉

  6. Mike Reply

    If Labour wants to present itself as a party of fair and just government it needs to sort its own house out. Instead of hounding members for public remarks made years ago which nobody but nobody worried about at the time it needs to deal properly with remarks made recently which have outraged many. Labour Councillor Carmen Appich called another councillor a bitch in a council meeting. Like Anne Pissaridou she apologised subsequently. Unlike Pissaridou she has had no disciplinary action taken by labour at all – indeed she has been rewarded by elevation to Labour group leader!

    • Daniel Harris Reply

      An interesting choice for co-leader. If I am totally honest and having looked at committees I am quite worried about this labour group. A lot lack any experience, spend too much times in their very small bubbles. Labour wont become electable until they select more people who were born and raised in Brighton.

      A new party locally would likely see labour go into third possibly 4th place in the city as it stands.

      A new working class party would likely take seats from the Tories locally also, so they have stuff to worry about!

      Not sure the rationale behind this decision other than to throw someone under a bus, Agree with Peter Anne should stand as a full independent, those other independents should look at forming a new independent group.

  7. Peter Challis Reply

    Perhaps Anne should take the noble course of action and resign and then stand again as an independent for Portslade North Ward and be directly accountable to local residents?

    As it is she is an independent that votes with Labour.

  8. Robbo Reply

    A few bizarre comments from a “Green” ex-Councillor! Maybe the many strange actions of the Green Party Council Administration could be explained. I also seem to recall that when the so-called “Green” Party controlled the Chair of the Planning Committee, information was kept from opposition Councillors and much time was wasted in petty bitter comments directed towards opposition Councillors. Planning Applications were also “rubber stamped” with little scrutiny because of the way that the so-called “Greens” controlled that Committee at the time.

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