Redbridge Labour councillor facing punishment over unknown allegations

A Redbridge Labour councillor is facing disciplinary action at a meeting next week.

Rosa Gomez will face her 53 Labour colleagues at a meeting on Monday July 10 to decide whether she will lose the whip.

At the meeting, Labour councillors are understood to be expected to vote on whether Cllr Gomez should have the whip withdrawn, and for how long.

The reason for the disciplinary action remains unclear, but a Labour source has suggested some councillors want to make her life a “living hell”.

Having the whip withdrawn means politicians are effectively expelled from their party and must sit as an independent until it is restored.

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

They added: “She’s respected locally, she should be a disability champion and someone we’re lauding, instead we seem to be almost persecuting her.

“What is going on here? Rosa should be lauded from the rooftops, a sign of Labour in Redbridge at its best.

“Instead, some seem determined to make her life a living hell.”

Cllr Gomez and Labour leader Jas Athwal have both declined to comment.

However, a spokesperson for Redbridge’s Labour councillors said: “The Labour Party has a clear zero tolerance policy on all forms of racism. While an internal party process is ongoing we cannot comment further.”

Another Labour source told the LDRS: “Irrespective of what she’s been accused of, we should be following through with our processes to be fair and just.

“These are our core values as Labour and we should at any point administer a fair trial.”

In 2010, Cllr Gomez lost the use of her hands and most of her sight in an attack in her home country, Colombia.

In an interview last year, she told the Local Democracy Reporting Service she moved to the UK aged 15, where she became involved in left-wing politics as an activist supporting her local MP, Jeremy Corbyn.

She was first elected to Redbridge’s historically Conservative Churchfields ward in 2018 and increased her share of the vote in 2022.

With the help of two assistants, Cllr Gomez is still able to support residents who contact her, read council reports and participate in committee meetings.

She said: “I would really encourage people with disabilities to take part in politics.

“I would like to see people with wheelchairs and different disabilities in the council and making decisions.

“We all have skills and properties, we are best on the inside not on the outside and we can be truly representative in our communities.

“It’s difficult with canvassing and getting up steps, but we can make it accessible and get more people involved… this is what makes our politics truly enriched.”

A spokesperson for London Labour has not responded to a request for comment.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter