The deselection of a “young black LGBT” councillor in Walworth has sparked a backlash from Labour members from across England.
Some 300 black and minority ethnic (BAME) Labour Party members have signed an open letter to “raise concerns” about the deselection of councillor Samantha Jury-Dada, on July 10.
The letter, published on the Labour List website, took aim at the result of the Faraday branch election, in which Cllr Jury-Dada lost by one vote to rival candidate, Jack Buck, who will stand in her place for London’s spring 2018 local elections.
The 300 members’ letter denounced the result, saying: “a young LGBT woman of colour, was deselected in favour of a white man who doesn’t live in the ward”.
It continued: “Faraday ward has one of the highest numbers of BAME residents, with over 60 per cent of the population identifying as non-white. Despite the fact that Cllr Samantha Jury-Dada had complained to officials in the party as well as the Labour Party’s NEC, there was no investigation into her complaints of bullying, intimidation and threats of deselection. She was subsequently deselected and now a ward that has 60 per cent BAME residents has no BAME Labour candidates.”
The letter was published the day after Cllr Jury-Dada published a statement via her Twitter account (shared 169 times and liked 316 times) in which she said she felt “hesitant” about seeking re-nomination. “I was hesitant because I did not want to endure another four years of the way I was being treated in my branch, despite numerous complaints,” she wrote.
She said she felt “devastated” after local Labour members were read a letter that made “inaccurate” “factional swipes” at her, during a branch meeting which she was unable to attend and defend herself.
The 300 members’ letter finished by saying: “We the undersigned believe that the Labour Party should conduct a thorough investigation into the complaints made by Cllr Samantha Jury-Dada. We the undersigned also believe that the Labour Party should be seeking to promote diversity in its structures and selections, so that we are truly a party that reflects the people that we represent.”
Cllr Jury-Dada became the borough’s youngest councillor when she was elected in a by-election in February 2016, shortly after graduating from university, with more than 60 per cent of the vote.
Her two ward colleagues, Paul Fleming and Lorraine Lauder were re-selected and will stand for re-election in 2018.
The News was unable to contact Jack Buck and ask him to comment.