Labour stalwart quits after 40 years
By GRAHAM DINESPolitical EditorA FORMER Labour Colchester Parliamentary candidate and one of the town's best known politicians has resigned from the Labour Party after 40 years' membership following accusations he supported the far left Socialist Alliance.
A FORMER Labour Colchester Parliamentary candidate and one of the town's best known politicians has resigned from the Labour Party after 40 years' membership following accusations he supported the far left Socialist Alliance.
Mr Green had been summoned to a meeting next month of the Labour Party's national constitutional committee to answer allegations from members of the Colchester constituency party, including current council group leader Tim Young, regarding his opposition to party policy on council housing.
He said he would refuse to attend this "contemptible charade" and that "with no regret" he had for the first time in 40 years cancelled his subscription to the party.
Yesterday a Labour Party spokesman said the hearing had now been cancelled. "A letter has been received from Mr Green, indicating that he will not be contesting the charges laid against him and that he has resigned from the party.
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"Under our rules, we can no longer proceed with the disciplinary case and the matter is now closed."
The allegations against Mr Green surround the Labour group's decision to support the Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO), being set up to run Colchester's local authority housing stock. It has split the Labour Party in the town, with many on the left of the party accusing councillors of selling out to privatisation.
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Mr Green faced four charges of bringing the Labour Party into disrepute. He was accused of "supporting and assisting in the organisation of the Colchester Socialist Alliance campaign to defend council housing" and distributing literature on the Alliance's behalf which included articles by himself about the Labour Party and Colchester Labour councillors which were "prejudicial and incorrect."
The fourth charge related to statements he made to the East Anglian Daily Times in May last year, in which he said the local party was "anti-democratic and virtually defunct."
Mr Green, a pharmacist who contested Colchester for the Labour Party in 1997, told Labour's National Constitutional Committee that he did not intend to "dignify with my presence the contemptible charade" of a disciplinary hearing which was due to take place in London on March 3.
In a letter to Eric Wilson, the Committee's Secretary, Mr Green said he had already denied and vigorously contested the charges of bringing the party into disrepute.
"The evidence you supplied is a travesty, being a compendium of inaccuracies, distortions, gossip and highly tendentious statements."
Last night, the Colchester Labour Party's Press Secretary Paul Bishop rallied to Mr Green's defence. "He has been a loyal servant to the party, was an excellent Parliamentary candidate, and a superb council group leader. I regret his decision to resign."