Portsmouth councillor stands down after he was abused online by own party

Cllr Aiden Gray
Cllr Aiden Gray
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A LABOUR councillor has said he will not stand for the party in Portsmouth, blaming differences with leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Aiden Gray announced on his own Facebook profile that he is standing down and not seeking re-election.

He said ‘internal conflict’ had been ‘more apparent locally’ and blamed hard-left Corbyn supporters.

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

Earlier this month he said he was considering leaving the party. He said Cllr John Ferrett had also received abuse online.

In the post he said: ‘After much consideration I have formally informed the Portsmouth Labour Party I am standing down and not seeking re-election in May.

Labourt party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labourt party leader Jeremy Corbyn

‘I feel that I can no longer hold with Jeremy Corbyn on many of his policies and beliefs, therefore it would be wrong for me to stand on a Labour ticket, when I am at odds with the current leadership direction.

‘Furthermore the internal conflict within the Labour Party has only grown and this has been made every more apparent locally with both John and I facing ever-increasing abuse and whilst I welcome debate, I will never advocate the kind of attitude that has been shown by some in recent months which I fear is taking us down an increasingly negative path.

‘With that said, I would also like to thank those who have been supportive to both the Labour group and me during my time in the party.’

There are two other Labour councillors in Portsmouth, group leader John Ferrett and Yahiya Chowdhury for Charles Dickens ward.

Furthermore the internal conflict within the Labour Party has only grown and this has been made every more apparent locally with both John and I facing ever-increasing abuse

Aiden Gray

Cllr Ken Ferrett quit the party in September last year.

The news of Cllr Gray’s decision was sent to all Labour members in an email seen by The News.

Membership officer Sion Reynolds said: ‘A vacancy has arisen in the Cosham ward.

‘We are looking for someone to stand for Labour in Cosham as Cllr Aiden Gray is stepping down in May.

‘First of all, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of Portsmouth Labour Party to thank Aiden for his diligent work on behalf of his constituents and for Labour.’

Cllr Gray will continue until May and remains a member of the Labour party.

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.’