A Labour politician who was found guilty of making false allegations of paedophilia against her gay opponent has resigned from the party.
In September Miranda Grell, 29, was barred from public office for three years, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 costs by Waltham Forest Magistrates Court.
Ms Grell won a formerly safe Lib Dem seat on the London Borough of Waltham Forest council in last May’s elections.
Her Liberal Democrat opponent Barry Smith saw his majority of 600 overturned by Ms Grell, who took the Leyton ward council seat with a majority of 28.
In September she was found guilty after a three-day trial of two charges of “making a false statement of fact about Mr Smith’s personal character or conduct,” contrary to election law.
Last week at Snaresbrook Crown Court her appeal against her conviction was unsuccessful.
In a statement, the Labour party today confirmed that she has resigned ahead of an investigation into her conduct.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, Leader of the Labour Group in Waltham Forest said:
“Miranda Grell has brought the reputation of the local party into disrepute and I am glad that she has now resigned from the Labour party.
“We abhor the offences of which Miranda Grell has been found guilty. I would like to apologise on behalf of the Labour Party to former councillor Barry Smith and to local residents in Leyton and Waltham Forest.”
Ms Grell’s Labour running mate in the council elections, Nicholas Russell, gave evidence at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court that Ms Grell’s attitude was “disgusting.”
He testified that he had heard her tell voters that Mr Smith had a 14-year-old Thai boyfriend.
Leyton resident Naomi Robinson told the court:
“Miss Grell told me to ask him [Mr Smith] about his 14-year-old boyfriend as she was driving away from the front of the house.
“I was quite shocked actually. I was not sure whether to believe it was true or not,” she said.
Mr Smith is in a long-term relationship with a 39-year-old Malaysian man.
He testified that he suffered verbal abuse accusing him of paedophilia and had to leave his home because of threats to his safety.
The LGBT socialist society in the Labour party has been heavily critical of the support she received after her conviction.
The legal costs for her failed appeal were to be covered by the national Labour party.
However, during the appeal the party withdrew its support.
Councillor Katie Hanson, co-chair of LGBT Labour, said in a statement before Ms Grell’s resignation from the party:
“This kind of behaviour has no place in a civilised society and brings both the party and politics in general into disrepute.
“Homophobia is completely at odds with everything the Labour party stands for.
“She has had her chance to defend herself and she has been found guilty.
“Equality is not optional for Labour party members or representatives and all forms of homophobia are unacceptable in our party.
“Following the failure of the appeal there should be immediate action on her membership. There is no place in the Labour party for this kind of bigotry.”