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Labour council leader quit because of ‘active campaign’ against him

The leader of Harlow Council has become the second councillor this week to speak about issues with left-wing campaign group Momentum after quitting his post.

Jon Clempner, who was leader of the Labour-controlled council until 11 January, claims there was an “active campaign” against his leadership both on social media and at national party events.

On Wednesday, PSE reported that Haringey Council leader, Claire Kober, had also resigned from her post, pointing to Momentum as one of the factors in her decision.

Now, Clempner claimed members of the group had called him a “neo-Nazi” as he left the Labour Party Conference in Brighton last year, and would attack anyone who did not conform to their own form of “ideological purity.”

He said deeper issues between himself and officials in the party and the Labour group had caused a rift.

“With one or two notable exceptions, the Labour group, and the party as a whole (with the exception of press releases put together by the regional party press office) seemed to want to airbrush me out of existence, and partly because of this, and the fact that the Labour Party was becoming a deeply unpleasant place, I resigned from the Labour Party shortly after,” Clempner explained in a blog on his website.

Following the resignation, Brian Keane, Harlow Council’s managing director, commented: “Cllr Jon Clempner has this morning informed me that he has resigned as both the leader of Harlow Council and a councillor with immediate effect.

“I would like to place on record my thanks to Jon for his service to both this council and to Harlow while he has been the Leader and a councillor.

“Having been informed of this decision a new Leader of Harlow Council will be appointed at the next scheduled council meeting.”

Keane said the deputy Leader of the council, Cllr Emma Toal, would chair the next meetings of the cabinet.

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Peter Rankin   05/02/2018 at 12:50

Interesting. It looks as though he's lost the support of his Group. If that's the case then its certainly time for him to go. I'm the leader of Preston City Council and being leader can be quite a lonely position. However it needs backbone but also good communication skills to ensure your Cabinet and Group know what the issues are and do support you. The Cabinet needs to be a team and be managed as a team. I've had problems over the 7 years as a leader but luckily I can (mostly) deal with stress and Cabinet members with quick and bad tempers!

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