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Lambeth Council Suspends Leading Black Councillor

Kingsley Abrams

Cllr Kingsley Abrams has been suspended from the Labour Group for a period of four months for allegedly disclosing confidential information.

This is denied, but there is growing anger in Lambeth’s Black community about an perceived climate of racism within sections of Lambeth Labour Party.

Maxi Powell a long standing Lambeth activist said:

“This is a witch hunt. Not against compliant black members, but against those who openly challenge the racism of the Labour leader, Steve Reed. The Council hacked into his emails and trawled for evidence to get rid of him. What happened to Kingsley should be a warning to all black members and officers in Lambeth Council, your emails are being monitored. The word on the street is that the Chief Executive Derek Anderson is next.”

Lambeth Council issued the following statement:

“Allegations were made that Cllr Abrams had been leaking confidential information which ended up with the opposition parties and in articles in local papers. This was investigated by a panel of three Councillors who gave a report to the Labour Group Executive who then made their recommendation that he should be suspended. Labour councillors voted in a secret ballot that accepted the recommendation that Cllr Abrams should be suspended from the Labour Group for 4 months.”

They further added.

“The investigation panel and the Labour Group concluded there was enough evidence. There are copies of emails in which Cllr Abrams shares confidential information to members of opposition parties (not the SLP) in the run up to the election campaign which is a serious breach of Labour Party rules.”

“Cllr Abrams is still a councillor and after the 4 month suspension he will be welcome back as a full member of the Labour Group as long as there are no further breaches of the rules.”

Cllr Kingsley Abrahams is set to appeal against the decision and must do so in the next 14 days. The leaked email relates to an alleged matter of ‘rent settlement’.

Lambeth council should be mindful that hacking into personal emails is a drastic step that should only be used in the most extreme of circumstances and is a gross intrusion of privacy.

Lambeth’s black community will no doubt be watching to see what happens next.

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14 Responses

  1. I don’t think that the statement above was made by Lambeth Council.

    Cllr. Abrams has not been suspended as a Council Member.

    He has been suspended for a limited time from the Labour Councillors’ association on the Council. It also would seem that there is some doubt about whether the information which he is accused of leaking is of a confidential nature, and about the legitimacy of the process by which he was suspended.

    Although there is a large Black community in Lambeth, and we now have a Black MP in Streatham and a dozen BME councillors, institutional (and personal) racism is still alive and kicking, and many of us bear its scars!

  2. It is absolute rubbish to describe Steve Reed as racist.

    He has been instrumental in ensuring Lambeth now has 11 Labour BME councillors, two of whom have been promoted to the cabinet and a further two have been made mayor and deputy mayor.

  3. With respect Ed I am not insinuating by my riposte that Steve Reed is racist but it is equally ‘rubbish’ to use your defence. There is difference between hiring BME people and holding racist views.

    Your defence whilst possibly true – on the face of it a rational response – and to which you are perfectly entitled to sounds like the “he brought black players through” defence of Ron Atkinson.

    In Lambeth, even if I held negative views about BME people, I would tactically try and ensure re-election by appealing to the electorate. Unfortunately, as we saw with the General Election, and the Presidential one – to be seen to do the right thing is often enough.

    Unfortunately this is the way racism in politics works, a bit like the way Tories celebrated bringing through black candidates less than two years after bending over backwards to suggest that Boris Johnson’s racist caricatures were not offensive and to question them was political correctness.

    Business and personal are two different matters, even incompatible ones on the face of it. I hope you are right and that Steve Reed isn’t part of a witch-hunt to remove black colleagues who don’t conform to his style of leadership.

    In the interests of balance he did sternly rebuke Barbara Hodge’s BNP-lite comments about housing allocation (so there is more possible reasons not to bandy the racism charge about); and if Cllr Abrams was leaking information he won’t be the first to do so but all the more reason to heed “if you play with fire you’re bound to get burned”.

  4. […] old Kingsley Abrhams, the @LambethLabour councillor for the Vassall ward, has apparently been suspended by his party. The allegation is that “information has been […]

  5. It is a disgusting and disgraceful slur by the author of this article to say that there is a ‘growing climate of racism in Lambeth Labour party’ – nothing could be further from the truth as anyone truly involved in Lambeth Labour politics will tell you. An organisation such as OBV should be ashamed for publishing such an article by an unnamed author. There are good grounds for defamation and OBV should withdraw this piece.

  6. We have spoken to several members of Lambeth’s Labour Party about this piece who have implied that there is still discrimination within sections of the party, its processes and conduct. The piece simply reflects this.

    We have, however, altered the piece slightly to reflect your concerns and are happy to give Lambeth Labour party a right of reply. Anyone?

  7. Mr. Bigham,

    Do you live in Lambeth?

    Are you Black?

  8. The disgraceful way that Betty Evans-Jacas was treated by Lambeth Labour is a classic example of racism in Lambeth’s labour party.

    It was reported on Operation Black Vote Here

    https://operationblackvote.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/betty-booed-part-two/

    It is a shame that their opponents are unable to highlight them effectively, but simply having BME councillors so they can gather the black vote on your behalf is not my idea of diversity.

    There are plenty of examples of black councillors having to defect to other parties to get heard
    http://blackpolitics.co.uk/2009/11/09/labour-councillors-deselection/

  9. As a resident of Brixton Hill Ward, Betty Evans-Jacas was a bad councillor, who failed to turn up to surgeries, and failed to respond overall. That’s probably why she failed to be re-elected over in the other ward she stood in this year.

    • Quote: “As a resident of Brixton Hill Ward, Betty Evans-Jacas was a bad councillor, who failed to turn up to surgeries, and failed to respond overall.” (Luke S)

      That is, quite simply untrue, and I challenge you to prove otherwise.

      Her attendance to her duties as a council member compares favourably with any other councillor in Lambeth.

      Overall, she has been disgracefully treated by the local Labour Party, and your comment does you no credit.

  10. […] how Councillor Abrams’ party has suspended the Vassall ward councillor for four months, after allegedly leaking [eek] sensitive Nu Labour […]

  11. As a resident of Vassall ward (and Labour supporter usually) I am thorough pissed off with this – Kingsley has been very badly treated but he doesnt do himself any favours with his macho posturing and his refusal to enter into discussions; he seems to have a problem getting on with people – something that good politicans need to do to achieve anything. Vassall needs lots of action and councillors who work with the council to deliver improvements and get investment. Instead we just have conflict which wont do any good to people in poor housing, living in poverty etc etc. Can we have less politics and conflict and more action please!

  12. […] became embroiled with dear old Comrade Kingsley. Having had the @LambethLabour whip removed for allegedly leaking sensitive Nu Labour documents (is it a co-op? / isn’t it a co-op?) the good Councillor for the Vassall ward suddenly found […]

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