The leader of Harlow Council has resigned arguing he was forced out by left-wing activists who were in pursuit of ‘ideological purity’.
Jon Clempner said his decision was the result of an ‘active campaign’ against his leadership on social media by members of Momentum, the left-wing campaign group which supports Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Clempner, who is the second Labour council leader to resign this week citing pressure from Momentum activists, also said the fact that the party’s left wing had taken over at the national level also influenced his decision to go.
The Labour Party, he said, had become a ‘deeply unpleasant place’.
Announcing he had also quit the party and would no longer be a councillor, Mr Clempner said the supporters of Mr Corbyn were ‘targeting’ Labour councillors and Labour councils that ‘do not conform to the particular form of ideological purity that seems to have taken a grip of the party.’
‘Councillors, unless formally endorsed by the privately owned company Momentum, seem to have replaced the Parliamentary Labour Party as the focus of the hard left’s ire,’ he warned.
A spokesperson for Harlow Labour Party said Mr Clempner had been a ‘hardworking and passionate member of the Labour Party’, and had shown the ‘utmost dedication to the community in Harlow.’
‘During this time, Jon oversaw some fantastic achievements for the council,’ they said.
‘It was under his leadership that Labour-run Harlow council has managed to build the first council homes in Harlow in a generation, develop and deliver the Enterprise Zone, secure the relocation of Public Health England’s National Science Hub to England next year and protect highly valued services such as Pets Corner and Harlow Playhouse.
‘These achievements took place whilst we have been hamstrung with a shrinking budget, and next to no support from the Government. This makes Jon’s successes even more brilliant and vital for the people of Harlow.’