Deputy leader of Luton Borough Council quits Labour party - saying it's more interested in playing party politics than standing up for people

Aslam Khan resigns to become an Independent councillor
Luton Town Hall and, inset, Aslam KhanLuton Town Hall and, inset, Aslam Khan
Luton Town Hall and, inset, Aslam Khan

Deputy leader of Luton Borough Council Aslam Khan has resigned from the Labour Party with “a heavy heart” to become an Independent, saying the party “no longer upholds the values” which attracted him to join.

Councillor Khan was elected to Poets ward at the May local elections, having served previously in Lewsey ward since 2011.

In a letter to Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and to borough council leader Hazel Simmons, councillor Khan said: “I’m writing to tender my resignation from my position in the party.

“This decision hasn’t been taken lightly, as I’ve had the privilege of serving in this role for the past 13 years. It’s with a heavy heart I must explain my reasons for departing from a party that I once believed embodied the values I held dear.

“When I joined the party, I did so with the conviction that it represented the principles of equality, social justice and inclusivity. These values resonated deeply with me and I dedicated myself to furthering them within our community.

“I’ve witnessed numerous changes within the party’s direction and priorities over the years. Regrettably it’s become evident that the Labour Party no longer upholds the values that initially drew me to its cause.

“The party’s recent decisions and actions have deviated form the principles of equity, fairness and solidarity, which were the foundation of my commitment.

“I joined a party which not only talked about equality and social justice, but did something about it. Today I only see a confused party, which is more interested in playing party politics than for standing up for what’s right for the country.

“The party has grown increasingly authoritarian, and the leadership no longer appears to listen to the concerns and aspirations of elected members or its residents.

“I believe that under Sir Keir’s leadership, the Labour Party has grown distant from the volunteers and activists who give up their valuable time to campaign and help improve our local communities, And it’s actually created an environment which actively treats us with both distrust and distain.

“I believe it’s my duty to align myself with a political entity which better reflects my beliefs and aspirations for our community. I can no longer continue in good conscience as a member of a party that no longer embodies the democratic ideals and inclusivity, which once defined it.”

Councillor Khan became deputy leader of LBC in 2021, after former councillor Sian Timoney decided not to stand for re-election this year.

“I want to acknowledge the support from Hazel Simmons, who’s been instrumental in my career progression,” he added. “It’s been an honour to serve alongside her and also many other dedicated individuals who share a passion for public service.

“My last day in office will be September 19th. I’ll ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities and remain committed to serving our community. I’ll continue to work towards the values I hold dear, albeit through a different avenue.”

Councillor Simmons and the regional Labour Party have been asked to comment on councillor Khan’s resignation.