Merton Labour accused of excluding pro-Corbyn members

A veteran local councillor believes Merton Labour are deliberately excluding Jeremy Corbyn supporters members from the council.

Former Figges-Marsh councillor, Peter Walker, 72, who joined Labour aged 15, resigned from Merton Council in 2016 and was suspended from the Party in October the following year.

Mr Walker claimed he was never provided with a reason for his suspension and suspects that it was as a result of his support for Labour Party leader Corbyn.

He said: “What’s happened in Tooting and Merton is that the body that draws up the panel of candidates for local authorities are excluding anyone that supports the leader of the Labour Party.”

Mr Corbyn was asked to resign in a public statement signed by 18 members of the Merton Labour Group in June 2016 but remains in his position.

Mr Walker, a member of Momentum, the grassroots organisation which supports left-wing Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, made reference to the “anti-Corbyn alliance” in the “London Regional Office” in a statement to the council regarding his suspension.

“I have no interest in attending some kangaroo court which labour officials wish me to answer to,” said Mr Walker.

“I have condemned the exclusion of good and active members of the Wimbledon Constituency Labour Party who were supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.”

Mr Walker also claims that he was removed from all Merton Council committees for criticising the council, before being pushed towards resignation when he was the only member to vote against cuts to adult social care in March 2016.

Peter Walker said: “There has been in London, purges of people like me by the officials of the Labour Party who are still very much the same people briefing against Corbyn since the last election.

“I believe in an inclusive Labour Party and what happened to me is a demonstration that the old right wants to exclude those who are on the left and I never thought I would see it.”

Mr Walker will continue to work as the chair of Wimbledon’s William Morris House, the local cooperative established by Labour.

“I will ensure that it continues to provide a base and considerable financial resources to help Labour’s campaign in Wimbledon,” he said.

“I’m not a Leninist, I’m a democratic socialist.”

Merton Labour Group and Merton Council declined to comment.

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