A Lewisham Labour councillor has quit the party in protest at the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn – but says he will still support the local party in the town hall.
Alan Smith, the councillor for Catford South, will sit as an independent at Lewisham Town Hall after resigning from the party this week.
He served as deputy to the former elected mayor Sir Steve Bullock, acting as his cabinet member for regeneration. He became a target for protests from Millwall fans in a row over plans to compulsorily purchase land at The Den as part of a major redevelop scheme. He has been a backbench councillor since the current elected mayor, Damien Egan, took office last year.
Until this week, all 54 of Lewisham’s councillors had been Labour. However, Smith will not be campaigning against his former party colleagues.
“I could not remain a member whilst Corbyn is in office. I am Labour through and through and will still support Lewisham Labour,” Smith told 853 on social media this morning.
Smith’s resignation is the latest example of turbulence in Lewisham Labour following the national party’s election of Corbyn in 2015.
Heidi Alexander resigned as Lewisham East MP last year to become Sadiq Khan’s transport boss, a year after she quit she shadow cabinet and branded Corbyn’s leadership “inept, unprofessional and shoddy”, leading to a by-election. Ian McKenzie, the constituency chair, was suspended soon after, following the discovery of two-year-old tweets suggesting that Emily Thornberry, the shadow defence secretary, could be beheaded by terrorists. The tweets were unearthed by pro-Corbyn commentator Owen Jones.
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