Cllr. Tim Bennett-Goodman resigns the Labour Whip

Word reaches me that Cllr. Tim Bennett-Goodman has resigned the Labour Whip, for reasons spelt out in his letter, below.

It is a sad day for the Labour Party.

Prior to becoming a councillor, Tim Bennett-Goodman had a long history of community-based activity in Waltham Forest, and was widely recognised for both his integrity and his commitment to improving the area.

It says much about the current state of the Labour Party that he no longer feels comfortable in its ranks.

’14 June 2016

Dear Paul

Resignation of Party Whip

Thank you for acknowledging and accepting my resignation.

It as with deep regret and personal sadness that I leave the Party I joined in London in 1986 and the Group I joined in 2014. Having worked for both a Labour MP and a Labour Assembly Member, my connections with the party are longstanding and deep-rooted. Indeed, a great uncle, Percy Holman, was a post-war Labour MP for the constituency in which I joined the Party and where I later worked for the sitting MP. You may imagine, therefore, that this was not a step I took lightly.

At a Party level, my disenchantment, since the Blair days, with its failure to act in a way I considered a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist party should act was allayed to a degree by the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Party Leader. However, that project appears to be trickling into the sand and has led to my losing faith in the direction the Party is taking at national level.

However, it was the appalling and distressing scenes at the West Branch meeting last night that for me proved the final straw.

My action in resigning now can hardly be construed as hasty or ill-considered. As far back as 5 September 2014 I mentioned to you as Chief Whip the risk of my sitting as an Independent councillor if the culture within the Group did not improve. I repeated this to the Leader himself at a meeting in his office on 2 October 2014. The Group culture failed to improve after this but had recently been showing signs of improvement. Sadly, it reached a new nadir at last night’s West Branch meeting.

With our residents suffering ILF cuts, Council Tax Benefit cuts, dubious ESA decisions and benefits sanctions, bedroom tax imposition and a range of other pernicious government policies, plus a looming refugee crisis and possible Brexit, detaining Branch with a perfectly worthy but ill-considered motion and then being subjected to displays of petulance and personal attacks when it failed to be accepted unamended is unconscionable. What has the Labour Party and Group descended to if this is the culture it is now prepared to accept as the norm?

I am simply no longer willing to struggle to accommodate myself to a culture which runs so entirely counter to all the values I hold dear and which I believed the Labour Party espoused – that is: democracy, inclusivity, empathy, openness, transparency, compassion and comradeliness – none of which now manifest themselves strongly enough (or at all) in the transactions of the current Labour Party or local Group.

Kind regards


Cllr Tim Bennett-Goodman (Independent)’

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1 Comment

  1. Wendy - June 20, 2016, 7:52 pm

    I have a huge amount of respect for Tim and if he has felt the need to resign the Labour whip then I think that is a reflection on the current state of the local Labour party. I know that many residents have also become very disillusioned with the current Council leadership over a whole range of matters:- housing policy, planning decisions, mini-holland, treatment of voluntary groups – the list goes on. I have heard lots of residents saying they “are not going to vote for this lot again”. Question being … who ARE they going to vote for? There are some excellent individual councillors …. but these days only people in the cabinet have any power …. I am very interested in where there are NO policies … but only processes …

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