Goodmayes Labour councillor loses suspension appeal

An independent appeal board has upheld the suspension of a Labour councillor.

A regional Labour Party committee heard Cllr Ali Hai’s appeal in central London, and on Friday of last week it agreed with the six-month suspension.

He was dropped from the group last month for 15 breaches of the party’s code of conduct, including failing to toe the line on the lease of Goodmayes Park Extension to football club Singh Sabha.

Cllr Hai, member for Goodmayes ward since May 2010, said he was not surprised by the decision.

He said: “What was alarming to note was that it seems that intimidation of councillors, to ignore and disrespect residents’ opinions and to treat those with personal misfortunes without compassion, is acceptable behaviour.

“However, for a councillor to raise questions on behalf of residents and to protect the public interest seems to be unacceptable, and that delivery of benefits and gains to deprived communities seems not to be important.”

His Labour colleagues supported the move to grant the 25-acre playing fields, in Mayesbrook Road, to Singh Sabha on a long lease so that they could develop sports facilities at the site, but Cllr Hai sided with a number of residents who objected.

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Deputy leader of the Labour group, Cllr Balvinder Saund, said “due process” has been followed and the interests of all councillors were published on the council website.

“Redbridge Labour Group have strictly followed the disciplinary procedure in respect of Cllr Ali Hai that we felt obliged to do,” she said.

“The London Regional Labour Party have given their verdict, with a suggestion for a way forward for all concerned. I have nothing more to add.” Cllr Hai remains an independent member for Goodmayes.