Letter to Editor: Former Labour leader on James Leppard and how the Tory chair of council votes

Your Say / Tue 28th May 2024 at 10:03am

Dear Editor,

JAMES Leppard, like Schroedinger’s (sic) cat, was simultaneously both present and absent in the Council chamber last Thursday. Absent because, in a bid by the Tories to publicly distance themselves from Islamaphobic comments Mr Leppard is reported to have made, he was suspended from the Conservatives. Present because, due to the Conservative’s precarious hold on power in Harlow, the Tory leader Dan Swords relied on him to make good his claim to have a majority.

That was not the only contradiction in evidence last Thursday. The Chair of the Council, Andrew Johnson, gave an emotional and heartfelt speech claiming he would act in a non political manner whilst holding this prestigious office. He went on to say he would treat both sides of the chamber equally and even handedly. Shortly after this speech three votes resulted in a tie. Councillor Johnson then showed his “non political, even handed approach” by siding on every occasion with the Tories.

I await with interest the decision on the outcome of the Conservatives enquiry into Mr Leppard, promised to be resolved in days (although it’s already been four weeks), and I look forward to the Chair of the Council voting with Labour, in the interests of fairness, the next three times there is a tie.

Yours sincerely 

Mark Ingall

Labour Councillor for Bush Fair

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16 Comments for Letter to Editor: Former Labour leader on James Leppard and how the Tory chair of council votes:

2024-05-28 11:03:45

Mark, you are a politician, you know how these things work, have you seen the BBC today about Labour's delay re Diane Abbot. Don't forget Cllr Leppard was elected AFTER his comments went public, at least locally.

Guy Flegman
2024-05-28 11:31:46

Schroedinger’s cat reference is incorrect. The cat is both alive and dead until you open the box. A bit pedantic I know, but is’nt that what we are going for here!

View from Afar
2024-05-28 11:40:58

Part of the problem regarding making a decision on who to vote for is that many people don’t have any technology so as there isn’t a local print newspaper so they don’t really know what’s current in local politics. The political parties with funding from central government are able to promote their agenda. Having said that Dan Swords make a lot of claims before the election - knocking down Terminus House, bring back Marks and Spencer neither of which have happened

Mark Gough
2024-05-28 12:42:10

Firstly, why did Mark feel the need to write this letter when it merely contains exactly the same stuff as his Leader's letter. Is all not well at the top of Harlow Labour? Is Mark upset he's not back as Leader? Secondly, the convention for Chair's casting votes is the status quo - namely in this case continuing with a Tory Leader and Tory Administration. If Labour don't like it, tell the Electorate and give them a reason to vote for you! If the Leppard situation means he says as an independent, then since he was voted in a Tory, there would be a case for a by-election! Mark Gough -Leader Harlow UKIP

Fact or Fiction
2024-05-28 13:08:09

Mark - you are right to press on the James Leppard suspension situation which should have been resolved by now but it could be a careful what you wish for. Hope not Hate sits behind the facade of being a charitable trust and is supported by trade unions/socialist worker, momentum and left wing activists to name but a few, its reputation has been brought into question on multiple occasions for being economical with the truth, this could/should be considered the basis for his reinstatement?

Tetley Taylor
2024-05-28 14:05:30

It’s disgusting James was allowed to stand. And them comments and his disgusting facebook group was well out before the elections started. Conservatives do what the conservatives want. Need kicking to the kerb.

Hear the Facts
2024-05-28 14:26:48

Tetley Taylor, may I remind this is Britain not Putin's Russia. Innocent until proven guilty is the Golden Thread of a free society. You have probably only seen part of the case and you jump to judgement. Says a lot about you and people like you. As has been pointed out above by Fact or Fiction, Hope not Hate is a highly dubious and sinister organisation of hard left fanatics. It has about as much credibility as the Ku Klux Klan!

2024-05-28 15:18:09

As others have pointed out "hope not hate is a very dubious Left wing organisation that should be shut down, further more comments allegedly made by James were in the public domain yet he still won the ward, tells you all you need to know

Mark Gough
2024-05-28 16:15:45

Here the Facts - right on every account. HnH's actions are disgusting. Never do anything to look at dubious Labour, Green, SNP, PC or even Lib.Dem behaviour. Only Tory, Reform or UKIP. Leppard won as a Tory because once nomination forms are in no changes allowed. For example the expelled Labour candidate in the Rochdale by-election! Sometimes candidates have even passed away but remain on ballot papers. Reform sacked 12 candidates on the say so of HnH. If we expect our Politicians to be whiter than white, we can expect to be disappointed. Much of the ammunition HnH use is stuff candidates have said or posted long before they decide to stand for Election. Surely apologies for mistakes should carry some kind of weight. Humans are fallable after all! Mark Gough -Leader Harlow UKIP

David Forman
2024-05-28 16:16:20

Two points. Firstly, the council's Constitution says: "There will be no restriction on how the Chair chooses to exercise a casting vote." Secondly, the Martin Forde KC report initiated by the Labour Party's National Executive Committee in April 2020 and published in July 2022 had this to say about Labour's disciplinary system: "deliver a system which, as far as is practicable, enshrines the core principles of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, including in particular: • an entitlement to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an impartial panel; • a presumption of innocence until proved otherwise according to law." Most notably the Forde report stated: "the period between the initial complaint and final resolution should not normally exceed nine months." So, councillor Ingall, by my reckoning that makes a resolution of councillor Leppard's case reasonable up until 18 November 2024. See Forde report at https://labour.org.uk/resources/the-forde-report/#:~:text=On%2019%20July%202022%2C%20the,it%20to%20the%20Labour%20Party

David Forman
2024-05-28 16:27:38

For Mark Gough and Pedro's benefit here is what Shami Chakrabhati had to say in her report on Labour's Antisemitism issue back in June 2016 in reference to recording the identity of the complainant as detailed on pages 16 & 17: "However, it would also create an important distinction between such a complainant and a hostile journalist or political rival conducting a trawling exercise or fishing expedition in relation to a particular person or group of people within the Labour Party. I am not going so far to say that a politically motivated complaint should always be disregarded, just that motivation may have relevance, as will context."

David Forman
2024-05-28 16:44:29

Sorry, forgot to give the link to the Chakrabarti Report and apologies for first incorrect spelling of her surname: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Chakrabarti-Inquiry-Report-30June16.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjStMjo2LCGAxVgSfEDHcWaPakQFnoECB0QAQ&usg=AOvVaw154e82HvwzVYZ5okg14D8P

David Forman
2024-05-28 16:56:34

Correction: Martin Forde's Labour Party initiated report makes a resolution of Councillor James Leppard's case reasonable up to 18 January, 2025.

2024-05-29 21:29:27

Ethically Mr Leppard should have stepped down rather than go a head on published election material that he was representing the Conservative Party as on the ballot paper. Most people don't follow the squabbles at Harlow Council and wouldn't have known he was suspended.

2024-05-31 14:30:17

Why should he step down based solely on an edited version of a FB post by Hope Not Hate, a fanatical far left group? Am surprised anyone even takes any notice of them. His suspension was widely publicised before the election and he still got more votes than Ingall and most of the Labour councillors!!! That's democracy.

2024-05-31 20:50:48

Spot on Alex

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