A Sandwell councillor who held a ladder for a political opponent as he put up posters has hit out at ‘corruption’-  after her party excluded her for campaigning for an opposing candidate.

Cllr Caroline White’s Labour membership was terminated yesterday (Tuesday) after allegations she supported an independent candidate , David Hosell, during the recent local elections.

But Cllr White said that what she was accused of amounted to merely holding a ladder so her friend would not fall as he placed posters on lampposts.

And she says she has received no official complaint or been given any chance to explain before it was revealed she had been thrown out of the party.

Cllr Caroline White, Cradley Heath and Old Hill.
Cllr Caroline White, Cradley Heath and Old Hill.
 

Labour rules state any member who supports or campaigns for a political opponent is deemed to have ‘auto-excluded’ themselves from the party.

The de-facto expulsion came after a video showing her holding the ladder was posted on a left-wing website alleging she was campaigning for David Hosell - a former labour councillor and a personal friend of Cllr White.

In addition, the website posted a short audio tape in which Mr Hosell said Cllr White would become an independent councillor.

But she says she has not been given the chance to explain what happened and at no time did she ask people to vote for anyone but Labour candidates.

In a statement to the Local Democracy Reporting Service , she said she has now resigned because she was denied natural justice and corrupt practice by party members.  

She said: “Having been a Labour supporter and campaigner my whole life I was privileged to be elected as a councillor three years ago and have worked hard with my fellow councillors to make Sandwell a better place for residents to live in and feel safe, however there have been some councillors who have only had their own interests at heart and I fear the corruption is growing.

“The Labour Party of today is not the same party I grew up believing in and feel I can no longer be true to myself or my constituents by staying.

"It has been a hard decision to make but I have resigned from the Labour Party with the hope that as an ‘outsider’ I can fight the corruption and make Sandwell and its council great again and, with help and support, I believe we can make it happen.”

The Labour Party said it could not comment on individual cases.

 

Her departure is the latest in a series of political scandals to have hit Sandwell Council’s Labour group this year.

In January, council leader Steve Eling’s party membership was suspended following an unspecified complaint against him.

In March, the Labour group choose Cllr Steve Trow as their leader after the NEC forced it to replace Cllr Eling.

In that same month the regional party intervened to deselected six sitting councillors from the candidates’ list,  preventing them standing for re-election.

Earlier this week it was revealed the party’s national executive committee will oversee the election of a new group leader after Cllr Trow dramatically stepped down only hours after Labour swept the board at Thursday’s local elections.

Privately, some Labour councillors are accusing national party officials of using de-selections and leaks to social media  to influence the outcome of the election of the new group and council leader.