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Wakefield CLP chairman resigns following years of by-election chaos

THE chairman of Wakefield Constituency Labour Party (CLP) in Yorkshire has quit the party after a year of chaos which began when Labour’s executive vetoed local candidates in a by-election.

The CLP executive resigned on masse in May last year when a short list of two candidates was imposed for a by-election by the Yorkshire city’s parliamentary seat following the jailing of Wakefield Conservative MP Imrad Ahman Khan for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

CLP chairman Paul Jowitt stayed on temporarily to head a meeting to elect a new executive, but he said that the meeting had been banned by the party’s regional organiser and that the CLP had not met since then.

The by-election saw Labour retake the seat, with one of the leadership’s imposed candidates, Simon Lightwood, becoming the city’s new MP.

Mr Jowitt has now quit the party in disgust and, in a resignation letter, made a bitter and wide-ranging attack on the leadership, in particularly Sir Kier Starmer and general secretary David Evans.

He said his disillusionment began with the imposition of candidates in May last year and grew as former party leader Jeremy Corbyn was hounded, Labour banned shadow ministers from joining picket lines and the leadership steadily abandoned its 2019 general election manifesto pledges.

He said in his letter: “The last straw was when you announced that, if you come to power, you will renege on the long-standing pledge by the Labour Party to scrap tuition fees.

“Is there nothing that you won’t renounce to gain power?”

The Labour Party was invited to comment.

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