Recorder letters: Mike Gapes leaving Labour, Gants Hill and Barkingside FC anniversary

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 February 2019

Mike Gapes is now sitting in Parliament as a member of the Independent Group. Photo: KEN MEARS

Mike Gapes is now sitting in Parliament as a member of the Independent Group. Photo: KEN MEARS


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

MP’s racism claim is smokescreen

Filly K Maravala, former mayor and councillor, London Borough of Redbridge, writes:

After maintaining a dignified silence for the past five years in matters pertaining to politics, Mike Gape’s departure from the Labour Party has necessitated my putting pen to paper.

Mr Gapes’ assertion that he is leaving the Labour Party because of racism and antisemitism is nothing but a blatant smokescreen.

The real reason he is leaving is that he cannot stomach Jeremy Corbyn becoming the leader of the Labour Party, as has been evident from his recent utterances.

He is a diehard Blairite and he knows it. I was a Labour Loxford ward councillor for 20 years and during that time Mr Gapes always took Loxford constituents for granted.

The only thing he ever did was to attend to immigration matters and King George Hospital, apart from this he has done nothing for overcrowding, homelessness, robberies, burglaries, health, prostitution.

The only thing that got him elected every five years was indeed the Labour banner that he flew under, I would wager that he will not stand again as an MP in the next general election.

I, too, left the Labour Party after 35 years but since the election of Jeremy Corbyn, I am seriously contemplating joining the Labour Party again and would happily support and canvass for the Labour party candidate in Ilford South in the next general election.

As a resident of Ilford South Mr Gape’s departure is indeed a breath of fresh air.

I cannot help but wonder if Mr Gape’s will endorse a by-election or still carry on forlornly until 2022?

Gapes did not help the area

A Woodford Green resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

The MP Mike Gapes served the Labour Party for 27 years and as Ilford South MP for that many years but unfortunately did not help the area.

There is prostitution, housing, parking and many other issues that he never addressed.

Let’s hope whoever replaces him will help the area.

Mike right over ‘antisemitic party’

Keith Prince, London Assembly Member for Havering and Redbridge, writes:

As the Conservative London Assembly Member for Havering and Redbridge, I have not always agreed with Mike Gapes, but he deserves huge praise for taking the momentous step of leaving the Labour Party.

Whilst it cannot have been easy to have walked out on a party that has been a huge part of his life for over 50 years, Mike is absolutely right that under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership “the Labour Party is now a racist, antisemitic party”.

I hope that other moderate Labour politicians, in Redbridge and across the UK, reflect very carefully about whether they can remain in today’s Labour Party.

Honourable thing is to have by-election

Will Podmore, Clavering Road,Wanstead, writes:

Mike Gapes, the MP for Ilford South, is one of the seven Labour MPs who resigned from the Labour Party on February 18.

All seven were elected as MPs on the Labour Party manifesto pledging to respect our referendum decision.

If these MPs were honest about their aims, they would at once resign from the House of Commons and stand in by-elections so that voters could decide whether they should continue to draw their salaries or not.

But they will not do this. Instead of doing the honourable thing, they will continue to draw their salaries and stay in Parliament on false pretences.

Tories misleading over Gants Hill

Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, writes:

I’m writing to clarify the council’s position on our fantastic Redbridge libraries and our housing targets.

In order to prevent any future administration closing our libraries I am committed to investing in future-proof infrastructure like our new community hubs, one of which will be built on the site of the current Gants Hill Library.

This hub will include a state-of-the-art library, space for a multi-GP doctors surgery, and potentially a gym, pending consultation with residents.

These spaces will be purpose-built to fit the needs of local residents and so I’m determined to run a thorough consultation enabling residents to design their own personalised hub with the services they need.

I was disappointed to see that once again the Barkingside Conservatives have been found spreading misinformation amongst unsuspecting local residents, stirring up confusion and fear over the new community hub site.

The Conservatives have called a “public” meeting claiming that Redbridge Council are planning to build 261 flats on top of the proposed community hub by Gants Hill Roundabout.

This is simply not true.

The report being referred to is clear, a capacity of 261 new homes has been identified in Barkingside ward over a 15-year time span and a community hub will be built to aid the infrastructure needs of the area.

This has come from the adopted local plan which was passed by the council and is a publicly available document, published on the council’s website.

The wilful misinterpretation of a public document by the Conservatives is not only disappointing but is disingenuous and hurts the residents by the spread of fear and mistrust.

The Conservative group must stop this deliberate misleading of the public. To advertise this number under false pretences and frighten Barkingside residents is both irresponsible and quite frankly negligent.

Barkingside FC plea for old players

J Flanagan, chairman, Barkingside FC, writes:

On March 25, 2019, Barkingside are playing a game to commemorate the club’s 120th anniversary at Cricklefield.

The club would like to get as many former players etc, to the game.

Also, if anyone knows anyone who played for the club and could ask them to come along that would be great. All I need you to do is let me know if you can attend and if you are bringing anyone, I will put your name on the gate, you can email me or call 07956 894194, admission for you will be free.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ilford Recorder