Last night Labour’s last councillor in Haverstock ward in Camden resigned his membership of the party and defected to the Liberal Democrats. Councillor Syed Hoque cited the Labour government’s response to the recent fighting in Gaza as central to his decision. He has also described his unhappiness with the Camden Labour group, in particular his belief that those in charge of Camden Labour are rude, arrogant and out of touch with local people.
This takes the number of Camden Liberal Democrat councillors to 24, an all time high. The number of Liberal Democrat councillors in Holborn & St Pancras constituency is now 11, a rise of 1000% from prior to the 2006 borough elections.
Councillor Hoque is by no means the only former Labour supporter in Camden to be feeling let down and disillusioned by a party that seems to have forgotten about ordinary people.
Labour are at rock bottom nationally and losing support every day. In Camden many people feel Labour has taken them for granted for years. Fortunately, all those who believe in ethical foreign policy, defending our civil liberties, and protecting those on the lowest incomes will find a natural home with the Liberal Democrats.
Statement from Councillor Syed Hoque, Haverstock Ward:
The Labour party I joined nearly 20 years ago has changed beyond recognition. I am therefore today resigning my Labour membership and joining the Liberal Democrats.
“Labour’s foreign policies have been a disaster. The decision to support George Bush’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, with false pretences of weapons of mass destruction, has ruined an independent country and killed hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians. This was an astonishing act of aggression, resulting in humanitarian catastrophe and unsettling an entire region.
“Like many others in Camden, I have been deeply upset by the recent invasion of Gaza. Instead of using their influence to bring the fighting to a halt, Gordon Brown and David Miliband have remained silent. Worse still, by refusing to halt Britain’s arms exports to Israel, the British Labour government is fanning the flames of a war which has led to the death of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
“When I joined the Labour party I never expected to be propping up a government that openly advocates war and aggression. I have been impressed by the principled stance of the Liberal Democrats on these important issues. Like the Liberal Democrats, I believe that diplomacy and negotiation are stronger weapons than guns and fighting.
“Here in Camden, I have seen how the hard work of the Liberal Democrats is really helping local people. My ward colleagues Jill Fraser and Matt Sanders work hard all year around making a real effort to listen to residents and do what they can to help. By contrast, many of those running Camden’s Labour party are rude, arrogant, and out of touch with local people.
“I feel thoroughly let down by Labour, and I know that many others in Camden feel the same. I can best serve people in Haverstock by joining the strong local Liberal Democrat team.”"
Jo Shaw is the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Holborn and St Pancras.