Redbridge Labour removes whip from Barkingside councillor
Daniel Gayne and Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: Archant
A Barkingside councillor has had the whip removed by the local Labour Party group.
Cllr Khaled Noor, who is appealing the decision, had the whip removed indefinitely following a vote at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday evening, November 9.
Redbridge Labour said Cllr Noor’s whip had been withdrawn after “a number of separate incidents where his behaviour has fallen below the high standard we expect of our members”.
The group did not elaborate on the nature of Cllr Noor’s alleged conduct.
Cllr Noor, 46, vehemently denied all allegations against him, claiming he has been victimised for raising the issue of Islamophobia.
He added that he rejected and opposed "all forms of racism", including antisemitism and Islamophobia.
Cllr Noor, a human rights lawyer, has been a Labour member since 2008 and was elected as a Barkingside ward councillor in May 2018.
In 2019, he put himself forward for the Labour Party selection contest for the Ilford South parliamentary constituency.
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A Redbridge Labour spokesperson said: "The whip has been withdrawn from Cllr Noor following a number of separate incidents where his behaviour has fallen below the high standard we expect of our members.
“The group only considers removal of the whip in exceptional circumstances where conduct breaches set standards, the fact poor conduct has been repeated is a matter of regret but made action unavoidable.
“Our focus remains on local residents, and our important work keeping our communities safe, investing in vital services and making sure Redbridge is a great place to live, work and visit."
Redbridge’s Conservative leader Linda Huggett, speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, accused the Labour group of deliberately avoiding a by-election by delaying the disciplinary hearing until Tuesday’s cut-off date.
She said: “I find it very surprising that those allegations were made such a long time ago and nothing has been done about them until the cut-off date when you can call an election, which was yesterday [Tuesday], November 9."
Redbridge Labour declined to comment on Cllr Huggett’s allegations.
During a public council meeting on January 21 this year, Cllr Noor asked Redbridge leader Jas Athwal how he was addressing alleged Islamophobia in the party.
He referred to complaints about an alleged Islamophobic post by an unidentified user of Redbridge Labour’s Twitter account in November 2020.
At the time, Cllr Athwal said he deleted the tweet as soon as he was made aware of it and issued a full retraction and a public apology.
Cllr Noor said: "I vehemently deny all allegations against me. I shall appeal against the decision of Redbridge Labour Group to remove the whip from me.
"I have instructed lawyers and I do not want to add anything further about my case at this stage.
"However, I would like to make the following general points about my record as a politician.
"As a passionate campaigner for social justice, equality and community cohesion - I reject and oppose all forms of racism: this includes antisemitism and Islamophobia.
"I strongly believe that we are equal before God and the law. My record speaks for itself, and I strongly support equality issues, both in terms of policy and personal behaviour."
He said the last three years have been "the most difficult in [his] professional and personal life".
"I sincerely believe that 'we have more in common than that which divides us', as famously said by the late Jo Cox MP.
"We all have the responsibility to work for a kinder politics, set aside hatred and division, and demonstrate that dialogue and not conflict can create a safer and harmonious society for all."
Cllr Noor will remain a councillor in Redbridge’s Barkingside ward until the local elections in May 2022 and retains the right to appeal to the national Labour Party.
Currently, he would not be able to stand as a Labour candidate in those elections.