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Mayor quits Labour Party and claims officials ‘ignored’ homophobic abuse

Nick Duffy April 2, 2019
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (STEFAN ROUSSEAU/AFP/Getty)

Hartlepool mayor Allan Barclay has resigned from the Labour Party, alleging the party has ignored reports of homophobia.

Councillor Allan Barclay, who currently holds the ceremonial office of Mayor of Hartlepool, announced he would be quitting the party on Tuesday (April 2).

In his resignation letter, Barclay claimed he had witnessed “anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, disability discrimination and a general disrespect towards others” from party members, alleging that left-wing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have “infiltrated” the party.

Labour Party ‘took no action’ to address homophobia, mayor claims

Barclay accused the party’s national leadership of failing to act after council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher was allegedly “physically threatened by a Labour party member and also vilified in a local campaign meeting for being gay.”

Barclay said: “The sentiment expressed in these discussions was ‘the Labour Party cannot be lead into future elections by gay people’.

“I am deeply distressed by the fact that no action has been taken to address this kind of behaviour.”

Mayor of Hartlepool Allen Barclay quit the Labour Party after being deselected
Mayor of Hartlepool Allen Barclay quit the party after being deselected

Gay council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher, who remains a Labour member, confirmed to Teeside Live he had reported an incident to the party in August 2018 and is still awaiting a response.

He told the newspaper: “Allan has been a really successful and hard working councillor and we’re disappointed to lose him.

“I have my own complaint with the national party which is being investigated and I’m still waiting on a resolution on that.”

However, Barclay said the failure to respond shows that Labour has “become a party of [anti-Semities], racists and homophobes.”

Labour hits back at ‘dangerous rhetoric and baseless claims’

A party spokesperson dismissed Barclay’s claims as “baseless,” and noted that that local members recently deselected him as a council candidate.

The spokesperson said: “Allan Barclay was deselected as a Labour candidate by his local party and therefore could not stand as a Labour candidate in the upcoming local elections.

“We reject his dangerous rhetoric and baseless claims.

“The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously, which are investigated in line with our robust rules and procedures. We cannot comment on specific cases.”

However, Barclay told Press Association that his deselection “has nothing to do with what I have put in that letter.”

More: Gay, Homophobia, Labour, Labour party, LGBT, mayor

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