Redbridge Momentum apologise to Ilford South MP Mike Gapes

Labour MP for Ilford South, Mike Gapes, speaking at a hustings in Ilford last year.

Labour MP for Ilford South, Mike Gapes, speaking at a hustings in Ilford last year. - Credit: Archant

A newly formed political group was forced to apologise after it published a “lie” on its website about an Ilford MP’s voting record.

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes wrote an open letter to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Friday, criticising Labour activist group Redbridge Momentum for claiming he voted for the bedroom tax in a post on their website.

The 63-year-old Wanstead born politician called on Mr Corbyn, whom he is a vocal critic of, to ask Redbridge Momentum to “immediately take down this inaccurate website”.

The group later posted an apology on its Twitter page, accepting it had been wrong.

It read: “Whilst we may have disagreements with Mike’s position on other issues, his record on voting against the unjust bedroom tax has been exemplary.

“We wholeheartedly apologise for any distress the incorrect information has caused to Mike and we understand the website has removed all mention of it.”

But this week Mr Gapes told the Recorder he had not received any personal communication from the group, which claims to have recruited 600 members in a month.

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He said: “It was an outright lie and a defamatory statement, and were I in a suing frame of mind I could easily do so.

“I’ve still not received a personal apology from anyone involved with Redbridge Momentum or a response from Jeremy Corbyn.

“The only reason I had to write to him in the first place is because I could not find a single address or telephone number for the so-called Redbridge Momentum, and the only thing that made me believe their group was legitimate was the inclusion of (Momentum spokesman) James Schneider on their Twitter page.”

A spokesman for Redbridge Momentum confirmed the group stood by its apology on Twitter.

Speaking of Mr Gapes’ letter to Mr Corbyn, he said: “It would have been more comradely for the MP to approach us via social media first.

“Jeremy has no involvement in local momentum websites.”

Redbridge Momentum’s website, where the original post was published, is now “under construction” according to its homepage.

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