Enough is enough

Dear Resident,

I write to inform you that I have resigned my membership of The Labour Party and resigned from the Labour Group of Councillors on Stafford Borough Council effective immediately.

Littleworth Councillor

The people of Littleworth have elected me twice under a Labour banner and I owe them my gratitude and my deepest thanks for the opportunity and their trust to serve them over the last eight years. As their advocate, I have argued for the protection of emergency services at Stafford Hospital, stood up for young people when the County Council slashed youth services and worked consistently on the Council to provide the rigorous scrutiny that any Council Leadership should welcome.

I want to take this time to highlight what I have been able to achieve as a member of Stafford Borough Council with support from my Labour Party colleagues:

  • In 2014 I gained recognition on a national shortlist of Young Councillors of the Year, through the Local Government Information Unit, because of my campaigning to support and defend our Hospital’s emergency services.

  • In 2015 I was accepted onto the prestigious Next Generation scheme, organised by the Local Government Association, which recognises and develops future leaders within Local Government.

  • In 2016 I had the honour and privilege to serve the Borough as its second citizen, the youngest ever to do so on the authority, and the first Councillor from Littleworth ward to do so since the early 1990s.

  • In 2018 I was appointed to Labour’s front bench on the Council, to serve as their Resources spokesperson, and elected cross-party to chair the Member Development Working Group.

The Labour Party and Antisemitism

Today, nearly a decade has passed since I took my first steps into political life and to my political home: The Labour Party. When I joined the party, as a passionate student, I had a desire to change the world, like many who have joined the party since the 2015 General Election defeat. Looking at my membership card today as I write this letter to you all I am struck by the words that have moved my action: “By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone …. We live together freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.”

Respect, Tolerance and Solidarity are anathema in today’s Labour Party. The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, along with the transformation of the party, has meant that the party has descended into the sewer. It is now a safe-haven for antisemites. Jeremy himself has failed to answer the calls of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, to allay the concerns and fears of the Jewish community, and to protect the party from becoming institutionally antisemitic. I feel his inaction shows his deep-seated desire to pit oppressor versus oppressed. His out-dated world view is not fit for our modern politics.

Attending heated party meetings where bullying is rife, along with sexism and intolerance, has been my experience of The Labour Party for a number of years even before Jeremy Corbyn. Sitting in rooms with people who do not share your values but want to humiliate and attack you at every turn will be no reasonable person’s preferred course to be involved in politics. Labour’s inability to deal effectively with bullying and intimidation within the party is a key factor in my decision today. If you can’t protect your membership from racism and bullying, how do you expect to do so in Government?

Labour Leadership

Since the Labour Leadership Election campaign in 2015 my issues of conscience with Jeremy Corbyn has never been something I have shied away from, and I will not start now. I cannot and will not share an association with those who endorse terrorism, either in Ireland or in the Middle East. I have been emotionally torn over this decision and I do not make this lightly but I cannot in good conscience continue to allow my name to be associated with The Labour Party, or its Leader Jeremy Corbyn and the hard left machine around him. I believe in a society that looks after each other, and that makes sure that people don’t go without when they need help but I cannot place these values above my desire for a country that values its national security and does not leave us defenceless to those who would do us harm.

Friends and Colleagues

I am deeply upset that I will no longer share the party banner of so many friends and colleagues who I have had the privilege of knowing and campaigning with to deliver a fairer society. I hope that whilst I won’t share the same rosette any longer I will continue to share the same Labour values that brought me into the party and serve as a Councillor for 8 years.

I want to place on record my sincerest gratitude to Aidan Godfrey, Labour’s Leader on Stafford Borough Council, for the role he has played in my development on the Council. I thank him for the opportunity to serve our Party, our members and our voters as Resources Spokesperson on the Council.

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About Rowan Draper

He was elected in 2011 and 2015 as a Labour Party Councillor for Littleworth Ward on Stafford Borough Council. In 2014, he was shortlisted for the Local Government Information Unit's 'Young Councillor of the Year Award'. In 2016, he represented Stafford Borough as Deputy Mayor. You can contact him at rdraper@staffordbc.gov.uk
This entry was posted in 2019, Independents, The Labour Party and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Enough is enough

  1. Keith says:

    Bye safe journey wherever it is you are going.

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