Special Racial Justice Bulletin feature: Bradford’s Respect Councillors Resign En Masse
In a personal statement made exclusively to JUST West Yorkshire, the Leader of the Respect Party, Alyas Karmani shares his reasons.
Over the last two months I have been having discussions with senior Respect party officials to address the legitimate concerns that we have relating to the unwarranted suspension of Respect Councillors Ahmed and Shabbir, the defamatory statements made about the Bradford Respect councillors and a failure to develop transparent operational structures and procedures to enable the party to work effectively in Bradford. To date our rightful and legitimate request for a full and unconditional retraction of defamatory statements and allegations made against our group of councillors collectively and individually have not been met. Regrettably these discussions have failed to find common ground as senior Respect officials have shown a disregard to address our legitimate grievances and we have been unable to resolve our issues of difference. After much deliberation this has left our group no choice but to fully resign from the Respect party with immediate effect and hence forth we will continue to operate as a group of independent councillors for the remainder of our term. This decision has not been made lightly and we are saddened that certain ‘gatekeepers’ involved in Bradford Respect appear to have no interest in transparency, accountability and equity.
I informed Rob Hoveman (parliamentary secretary to George Galloway MP) of this on Thursday 24th October 2013 and following this both Cllrs Ishtiaq Ahmed and Mohammad Shabbir then received an email from Ron Mckay, (acting secretary of Respect Party) that they have been dismissed from the Respect party as of 24th October 2013. This action only reinforces our views that decisions are made with complete disregard and contempt for any due process and are motivated by self-interest and not in the interest of constituents and the people of Bradford.
We find this particularly disturbing given that since being suspended on 13/8/2013 there has been no formal allegation put to them, no description of any processes, no interview and no opportunity for the two councillors to challenge the allegations made against them and there seems to be no collective endorsement for this decision from the Respect National Executive Council.
I want to assert that as a group we entered into local politics with a view to stand up for Bradfordian’s and therefore we believe we have acted in the best interest of Bradford. Needless to say we will remain committed to the electorate and will continue to advocate for the citizens of Bradford and work hard for the interests of our constituents and we will continue to represent them in Council on the issues that affect them in the District.
Councillor Alyas Karmani- Group Leader
Councillor Ruqaya Collector- Deputy Leader
Councillor Faisal Khan
Councillor Ishtiaq Ahmed
Councillor Mohammed Shabbi