From: Barry Simons, Back Lane, Heathfield
As chairman of the Bexhill and Battle Constituency Labour Party, I really regret the resignations of long-standing members of our local party, especially now, as it clearly undermines our local campaign to win seats from a moribund Tory council and create a vibrant opposition and a progressive Rother District Council.
The arguments of these valued members state they no longer feel welcome in my Party because of the Party’s failure to deal with anti-Semitism and its failure to support a second referendum on EU membership.
In terms of anti-Semitism, as a member of the Jewish community myself, I feel very let down by these members who have resigned because of that reason.
There is anti-Semitism in some constituency parties, although I have never experienced it within my constituency party or during my 45 years of membership of the Labour Party.
Anti-Semitism in the Party has not been dealt with as quickly as it should have been, but it is being dealt with. There are a number of suspensions and expulsions and no doubt many more to come. Of course there are people who are using this problem to attack the Party and leadership but it is clear that this problem needs to be dealt with quickly and decisively, but the member resignations feel to me, like your allies deserting you, when they are most needed.
As all the members who have resigned know, the local Party has voted time and time again for a second referendum on EU membership. It is not a straight-forward decision and these members will also know that the Party’s last manifesto contained the pledge to honour the results of the 2016 referendum.
I am a passionate believer in the EU and will do what I can to support measures that mitigate the detrimental effects of leaving, whether that is membership of a Customs Union or the Single Market. Unfortunately there is no majority for a referendum in Parliament currently and the Labour leadership is trying to find a way to leave the EU which commands Parliament’s support and if that is not possible, to do everything it can to prevent a No Deal and then to support a referendum on the Tory deal or to remain.
This is the only logical position the Party can take whilst not having a majority in Parliament.
I cannot understand why Party members have purported to resign on this issue especially when the leadership has shown by its voting record that it has no intention of a supporting or facilitating a Tory Brexit.
I really want members who have resigned to think again and realise that it is much better to fight for what you believe in within the Labour Party, because the Labour Party is the only really progressive movement that will ensure a better and more prosperous future for our people.
If they cannot do that at least these members should campaign and help the local candidates in the Rother elections as they are aware, all the candidates in the marginal seats share their views on anti-Semitism and the EU.