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De-selected Labour councillor ‘deemed unfit to be on list of candidates’

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A Labour city councillor in Peterborough says he was de-selected after party officials quizzed him about Facebook posts re-iterating his support for Palestine.

Cllr Imtiaz Ali says that following the grilling, he was “deemed unfit to be on the list of candidates”.

He says he has now resigned from the Labour Party and joined Peterborough Green Party.

“I chose not to appeal the decision, I didn’t want to appease the bullies,” he said.

The Green Party tweeted today: “Cllr Ali is a hardworking and well-respected councillor for Fletton and Woodston.

Cllr Imtiaz Ali says he has resigned from the Labour Party and joined Peterborough Green Party. Photo of Cllr Ali with his new Green Party colleagues

“We offer him a warm welcome and are looking forward to working together.”

Cllr Ali explained his resignation from Labour in a Facebook post.

“Some of you may have heard, but I am no longer a member of the Labour Party,” he wrote.

“After serving for many years as an activist, supporter, campaigner, and more recently as an elected Councillor, I had a reselection interview to see if I was fit to be a candidate again for the upcoming elections in May 2023.

“The interviewers asked me about some of my Facebook posts from as far back as 2021.”

He said the posts had:

1: Suggested that Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine, its ethnic cleansing and its apartheid system was more counterproductive to peace than the BDS movement.

(Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice, and equality. BDS says it upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity)

2: A post where he shared Emma Watson’s post of solidarity with Palestine

(Emma Watson, best known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies, has been accused of antisemitism for among other things posting a photograph on social showing a photograph of a pro-Palestinian protest with the banner “solidarity is a verb” written across it.)

3:  A BBC interview with Miqdaad Versi on his views on the criticisms that the Qatar World Cup was receiving.

(Miqdaad Versi is a regular media spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain and writes frequently for the Guardian, Independent and New Statesman).

Cllr Ali said: “I reiterated my beliefs for the panel on each of the posts, and as a result, I was deemed to be unfit to be on the list of candidates.

“It is a shame that the party has changed so much from the one I joined around 10 years ago, but I can assure you all that I have not changed at all”

Cllr Imtiaz Ali says he has resigned from the Labour Party and joined Peterborough Green Party.

He added: “I chose not to appeal the decision, I didn’t want to appease the bullies, and I didn’t want to compromise my beliefs and my opinions, be they local, national, or international.

“Therefore, I have resigned from the Labour Party, but I will continue in my role as councillor for Fletton and Woodston until May 2023, at which point I will stand again to retain my seat.”

Cllr Ali said: “I should say, I hold no negative feelings towards my colleagues in Peterborough.

“No-one locally is responsible for the direction the party is taking, although some may need to accept this reality and not pretend that all the recent suspensions/expulsions are coincidental.

“I’ve always tried to be honest and transparent, and this is why I have shared this post.

“I don’t want misinformation being spread, and I don’t want residents that are not involved day to day to be misled over what is happening within the Labour Party under Keir Starmer.”

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