Portsmouth Labour party thrown into chaos as chairwoman quits due to ‘abuse’

Sue Castillon

Sue Castillon

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THE chairwoman of Portsmouth Labour Party has quit after claiming her role had been made ‘untenable’ by the abusive behaviour of members.

Sue Castillon has stood down just two months after she was elected to the position as divisions grow within the city Labour’s branch.

In an email to the party’s executive committee, which has been seen by The News, Mrs Castillon said: ‘I herewith resign my position of chair of Portsmouth Labour Party and will not be attending any future party meetings.

‘The constant abuse on social media, member to member, and local press coverage of this makes the role untenable.

‘I have tried very hard not to hurl personal abuse back to other members but the behaviour of some members, in my opinion, does not reflect why I joined the Labour party in the first place.’

It comes after Mrs Castillon posted on Facebook that she wanted Portsmouth Labour group leader, Cllr John Ferrett, ‘suspended’ from the party.

She added: ‘Well I want him chucked out really if he doesn’t resign first.’

Cllr Ferrett said Mrs Castillon quit after he made a complaint about her remarks.

Cllr Ferrett said: ‘Clearly, I have been unhappy with the way she has chaired the party and I was unhappy with the direction of the party.’

He added: ‘Hopefully now we can get a new chair in who is interested in making the Labour party electable, rather than just turning it into a protest movement.’

Meanwhile, Portsmouth Labour councillor Aiden Gray has revealed he will not defend his seat at the city’s local elections in May, blaming differences with leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Announcing his decision on his Facebook profile, Cllr Gray said ‘internal conflict’ had been ‘more apparent locally’.

Cllr Gray was elected in May 2012 to Cosham ward as a Liberal Democrat but switched to Labour six months later.

Speaking the The News, Cllr Gray said the hard left in the party were unwilling to work with anyone.

He said: ‘I’ve been pretty clear I don’t hold with everything that Corbyn does on beliefs and policies but am willing to give the benefit of the doubt for the better of the party.

‘However, locally it’s become more and more divisive in the Labour party, just reflecting the national picture.

‘The ongoing abuse is not just for myself but John and other members of the Labour party who don’t follow the Corbyn line but like a broader aspect.’

Former Portsmouth Labour councillor, Ken Ferrett, brother of Cllr John Ferrett, quit the party last year due to ‘fundamental political differences’ with Mr Corbyn.

He stood down as a councillor earlier this month.

Mrs Castillon was last night unavailable for comment.

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