Hanwell Councillor Quits 'Toxic' Ealing Council

Lewis Cox says he was unable to support either previous or new leader

Lewis Cox has resigned as a councillor with immediate effect. Picture: Lewis Cox/Twitter

A councillor representing a ward in Hanwell has announced his resignation describing the Labour Party in the borough as ‘an increasingly toxic brand’.

Lewis Cox, who has represented Hobbayne ward for the last three years has stepped down describing the operation of the Labour party locally as ‘a system very much based on patronage, back-room deals and cronyism.”

In his resignation statement he said, “Back in 2017, when I was first selected as a candidate, there was a real sense of change in the Labour Party. A sense of hope. It became possible to believe that a working-class lad from Yorkshire, working shifts as cabin crew for an airline at Heathrow might have a voice and something to add within the Ealing Labour Group and council, which would make a difference and help improve people’s lives.

“Of course, it wasn’t all plain sailing, The establishment of the Labour Party locally (people who were leaders then and are leaders now) threw every possible obstacle they could find in the way to prevent me – and members like me – from becoming candidates, let alone councillors. I will admit, it made my victory twice as sweet when I managed to dodge those obstacles.”

He abstained in the vote for leadership of the group at the council AGM this Tuesday night (18 April) describing Julian Bell as ‘a person that had done untold damage to the reputation of Ealing Labour for year after year’ and his ‘apprentice’ Peter Mason as someone who was ‘no less implicated in many of the bad decisions that have turned residents against us and, worse still, who played a key role in widening the divisions in the Labour Party for factional ends”.

He said that continuing to serve as a councillor without a cabinet position would be endorsing Cllr Mason and his ‘toxic brand’ and therefore he would be resigning with immediate effect.

Former Cllr Cox was on the left of the party and a supporter of Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn. He has been critical of Keir Starmer since he became party leader.

He made an official complaint to the party after he failed to secure the nomination to represent a ward in Southall claiming that he was told that residents there would be less willing to vote for an openly gay man. He also complained when he failed to be considered as a candidate for the Ealing North constituency because of the shift nature of his employment.

An Ealing Labour spokesperson said, “We want to thank Lewis for his service to Hanwell, Ealing Labour and our borough. He has been a fantastic local ward councillor and we wish him the best with his future endeavours. Ealing Labour are committed to building an open, transparent and inclusive council, and to changing Hanwell for the better.”

The resignation will require a by-election to be held in Hobbayne ward. Earlier this month Labour comfortably held onto another seat in that ward in a by-election held following the death of a sitting councillor.

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May 19, 2021