Charges dropped against MP’s campaign manager

Criminal charges have been dropped against a campaigner for Sam Tarry MP who was accused of verbally abusing Redbridge councillors.

Several Redbridge councillors accused Syed Siddiqi, 35, of using “threatening, abusive or insulting words” after a council meeting at Redbridge Town Hall on September 22 last year.

He denied the charge and faced a trial in July but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has now confirmed that his case has been dropped.

In a social media post, Siddiqi said: “On April 26, I appeared in court and pleaded ‘not guilty’ to a false and malicious accusation made against me by a right-wing Labour Party councillor.

“Today, I am delighted to announce that the CPS have informed me of their decision to drop the case against me. One down, one more to go!”

Siddiqi has been approached for comment on the charges and the meaning of “one more to go” but has not responded at the time of publication.

The case is a public example of tensions between rival factions in the Labour Party boiling over in Redbridge.

Some of the witnesses who had been due to appear at the trial are allies of Redbridge Council’s leader Jas Athwal, while Siddiqi works for Sam Tarry, the present Labour MP for Ilford South.

A month after the alleged incident with Siddiqi, local Labour members took the rare step of replacing Tarry – a former campaign manager for former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – with Keir Starmer supporter Athwal as their Parliamentary candidate in the next general election.

Siddiqi was expelled from the Labour Party last year but was previously party secretary for Ilford South.

A CPS spokesperson said: “We have a duty to keep all cases under review. Following a review of the evidence, we concluded that our legal test was not met as there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction, and the case against Syed Siddiqi was dropped.

“It is not the function of the CPS to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider.”

The prosecution service’s delayed confirmation that charges have been dropped came two weeks after Siddiqi himself announced the decision online.

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter