Portsmouth Labour councillors consider quitting over Corbyn

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn

A CGI of plans for Brunel House that were rejected in 2015

Anger as stalemate emerges over future plans for derelict Portsmouth building

  • Portsmouth Labour group leader is taking things ‘day to day’
  • Says party has lost sight of its original purpose
  • City party chairwoman declines to speak about problems
  • Lib Dems say there is ‘great deal of conflict’ within Portsmouth branch
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FRESH problems have emerged in Portsmouth’s Labour Party as two of its three remaining councillors consider their long-term future because of political tensions.

Councillor Aiden Gray, the deputy leader of the city’s Labour council group, says there is a ‘vendetta’ against anyone who challenges Jeremy Corbyn’s far-left views – forcing him to think about whether he should quit.

It seems to have lost its way in terms of working on trying to win elections, governance and making a difference to people’s lives.

Councillor John Ferrett, Portsmouth Labour group leader

It comes after complaints were made to the Portsmouth Labour Party’s executive about negative comments Labour group leader, Cllr John Ferrett, made about Mr Corbyn.

No action has been taken against Cllr Ferrett, but the senior Labour member says he’s finding it ‘difficult’ defending his corner and is taking things ‘day to day’.

Cllr Ferrett said: ‘There were complaints made against me, largely on the basis of comments I have made about Jeremy Corbyn.

‘I had also put in a complaint about the chair of the party, Sue Castillon, for the fact she disclosed she was dealing with internal complaints on Facebook.

‘It’s just a real shame what is happening with the Labour Party at the moment. It seems to have lost its way in terms of working on trying to win elections, governance and making a difference to people’s lives.’

He added: ‘I take it from day to day.

‘I am still a Labour Party member and councillor and I am fighting my corner.

‘But that’s really, really difficult.

Cllr Gray said: ‘It seems like there is a vendetta against anyone who doesn’t 100 per cent agree with everything Corbyn says.

‘This is meant to be a broad church and people should be able to air their views without almost being ostracised.

‘It’s fair to say that I am considering my future in the Labour Party at the moment.’

Mrs Castillon declined to comment, but said issues with Cllr Ferrett were being dealt with ‘in-house’.

Both Cllr Ferrett and Cllr Gray are up for election in Portsmouth in May.

Yet Labour’s other city councillor, Yahiya Chowdhury, said he remains committed to the party.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader, said: ‘You just need to look at the record on the city council of how the Labour councillors have voted.

‘The Labour councillors voted for the Conservatives to run Portsmouth.

‘In the budget meeting, they didn’t vote against cuts to the domestic violence service, they didn’t vote against cuts to the hate crime unit, and when I speak to Labour supporters, they find that very surprising.

‘There is a great deal of conflict within the Labour Party in Portsmouth.’

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