Labour's 'witch-hunt' against party veteran

Leigh Farrow has been a Labour Party member for 30 years
Leigh Farrow has been a Labour Party member for 30 years

A Labour councillor has been told he cannot seek re-election in one of the party's safest seats.

A Labour councillor has been suspended and told he cannot seek re-election in the latest twist in a long-running battle over who should represent the party in one of its safest seats.

Gill Mitchell, the Labour Group whip

Gill Mitchell, the Labour Group whip

Councillor Leigh Farrow, 59 - a party member for 30 years - is the victim of what one party insider described as "a witch- hunt by the people who pull all the strings". He has told friends he fears he might be expelled from the party by opponents outside the ward, who want to replace him with a favoured candidate. He has formally lodged an appeal to the Southeast Regional Labour Party.

The latest dispute comes only months after Cllr Farrow successfully appealed - while recovering from a double bypass operation following a heart attack last November - against a decision by party chiefs not to allow him to go on the official list of potential candidates.

It also follows a re-run of the Labour Party selection contest in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean after an initial meeting ended in near- farce, when the votes of eight ward members were "miscounted".

The threat of disciplinary action follows a brief row with fellow Labour councillor Chaun Wilson, the party's housing spokesperson, before a meeting of the council's housing committee in June. In a 10-minute pre-meeting, Cllr Farrow swore at Cllr Wilson, after she passed on voting instructions from Councillor Gill Mitchell, the Labour Group whip.

Last week, in a hand- delivered letter, Mel Davis, chair of Brighton and Hove District Labour Party, told Cllr Farrow he could not stand as a candidate in next May's elections. The letter re-inforced messages from Cllr Mitchell, who had referred the matter to the city party's executive committee.

For articles related to the Labour controversy, visit:

The City Party;

Officer of suspended Labour Party branch speaks out;

‘An insult to democracy’ – Labour Party suspends local branch party;

Labour members stand by Councillor Leigh Farrow;

Labour’s ‘witch-hunt’ against party veteran;

Councillor Mo Marsh wins Labour selection run-off;

War of words in Labour selection re-run;

Furore over Labour's botched attempt to 'fix' safe seat.

External links:

The Argus (August 16): Labour deny suspension of Leigh Farrow from Brighton and Hove City Council;

Brighton and Hove News (August 16): Grassroots party members stand by suspended Labour councillor;

Brighton and Hove News (August 14): Labour members in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean urged to join discussion on suspended councillor;

Brighton and Hove News (August 2): Labour suspends Brighton and Hove councillor;

Brighton and Hove News (April 9): Brighton councillor wins selection run-off;

Brighton and Hove News (March 27): Potential Brighton Labour candidate accused of sending misleading email;

Brighton and Hove News (March 21): Furore over Labour’s botched attempt to ‘fix’ safe Brighton seat;

Brighton and Hove News (March 14): Former Albion chief to stand for Labour in Brighton and Hove council elections.