Disabled Redbridge Labour councillor has whip removed after allegation of racism

A Redbridge councillor has been kicked out of the Labour group after an investigation into an allegation of “racism”.

At a meeting at the Town Hall on Monday (July 12), Redbridge’s Labour councillors voted to remove the whip from Rosa Gomez for at least six months.

A spokesperson for the group said it takes a zero-tolerance approach to “all forms of racism” and breaches of the code of conduct.

However, they refused to provide details of the allegation or investigation, arguing that they cannot discuss individual cases.

They added: “The removal of the whip is taken as a last resort and can only occur after a full investigation supported by the central Labour Party and a vote by the Redbridge Labour group.”

Having the whip withdrawn means Cllr Gomez has effectively been kicked out of Redbridge’s group of Labour councillors.

Until Labour reviews its decision in January she will sit as an independent councillor.

Cllr Gomez declined to comment.

Conservative leader Paul Canal said that an allegation of a racist nature made against a councillor should also be investigated by Redbridge Council as a potential breach of its code of conduct.

He added: “Transparency and accountability are fundamental pillars of local democracy.

“It’s absolutely vital that the Labour Party publishes the allegations and the report into those allegations for the borough’s residents to have faith in the conduct of its hearing.

“Otherwise people will view it as another kangaroo court to cement the power of one man.

“It is remarkable that the borough’s only disabled councillor has been treated in this way.”

A Labour source previously told the LDRS that Cllr Gomez, who is disabled, is being “almost persecuted” by Redbridge Labour despite working “incredibly hard” for residents and winning two elections.

Redbridge’s Labour leader Jas Athwal and the Labour Party’s London office have not responded to repeated requests for comment.

Other Redbridge Labour members contacted by the LDRS said chief whip Martin Sachs, who led the investigation, has instructed them not to speak to journalists.

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter