Fourth former Luton mayor resigns from Labour Party over leadership's stance on Middle East conflict
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Abid Hussain’s decision to quit the party follows those of Waheed Akbar, Tahir Malik and Sameera Saleem, who also served on Luton Borough Council. In his resignation letter, the town’s mayor in 2005/6described the Labour Party as “an organisation to which I’ve been dedicated since my teenage years”. Throughout his membership, he referred to being “a vocal advocate for local issues” and not afraid to voice his concerns.
He said: “Regrettably I’ve come to the conclusion that both the local and national party are resistant to learning from past mistakes and seem reluctant to embrace meaningful change.
"The suspension of local democracy manipulation has been a common theme in the Labour Party over the years.
“Furthermore, the aftermath of the Iraq war and the ongoing suffering of ordinary civilians in Palestine have left me disheartened and disillusioned with the Labour leadership.
“Their response to the suffering of civilians in the ongoing Palestinian conflict is unjust, and recent statements by the party’s leadership seemingly justifying collective punishment, genocide, and ethnic cleansing are unacceptable.
“This has become the proverbial last straw, even refusing to call for a ceasefire to help get much needed aid. My initial intent in joining the party was to contribute to positive change and to uphold democratic values.”
He explained that for him it is time to “move away from mainstream British political parties and look for an alternative to support candidates who genuinely represent our local communities.”
Mr Hussain said: “We should vote for individuals committed to making a real difference within our areas, rather than abstaining from voting in upcoming elections. That effectively gives political parties a blank cheque to enact unjust policies and pass laws.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s statement on the current situation in Gaza has been seen by some local politicians as endorsing the Israeli government’s response to Hamas terrorist atrocities in the country last month.
“My message is clear that boycotting the Labour Party is the only way to make a difference,” added Mr Hussain. “For people to take a stand against the humanitarian crisis affecting Palestinian children, through genocide and ethnic cleansing, I’d urge party members to consider cancelling their membership.”
Mr Hussain called on current Luton borough councillors “to promptly resign in an effort to halt the suffering of the Palestinian people”.
He referred to “a glimmer of hope for humanity as hundreds of thousands of people from various religions and backgrounds, including Jewish people, join in protest”.
Mr Hussain warned: “We must stand on the right side of history, for just as Moses delivered the enslaved to freedom in the face of oppression, we too must strive for peaceful Palestine liberation.
“I strongly urge for respectful behaviour towards the Jewish members of our community, and I firmly believe that the most significant changes start within ourselves.”
SOURCE: Email from ex-Luton mayor and borough councillor, and archive material.