JOINING a growing list of disgraced Labour politicians, a Labour Councillor from Harrow has been suspended from the party – yet Labour refuse to disclose the reasons behind his suspension.
Every year, dozens of Labour councillors from across the country are suspended after being caught engaging in immoral or crooked activity, from antisemitism to corruption.
Cllr Phillip O’Dell previously represented Wealdstone North’s Harrow ward under the Labour flag, but is currently classified as an independent.
It is still unknown what acts are being investigated because Cllr O’Dell would not react to questions when asked. Despite the fact that his party is listed as an independent on the council’s website, he stated that he is “still a Labour Party member so not an independent.”
He has also been removed from all previous panels on which he served, including the licensing and general purposes panel, the oversight and scrutiny committee, and the traffic and road safety advisory panel.
When a councillor’s whip is taken, he or she is effectively banished from the party until it is reinstated. During this time, they retain their elected seat but are required to sit as an independent. This was confirmed by the Harrow Labour Group to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
“Cllr Phillip O’Dell has temporarily had the whip withdrawn from him regarding Harrow Labour Group activities,” stated the group’s leader, Cllr David Perry.
Speaking exclusively to VoteWatch, Conservative Harrow Councillor Matthew Goodwin-Freeman slammed the Labour Party’s lack of transparency.
“It’s vital that the Harrow Labour group and former Labour Cllr. Phillip O’Dell come clean as to why he has had the Labour whip removed and is now sitting as an Independent councillor,” he said. “Not only do his constituents in Wealdstone North deserve to know the truth, but residents across Harrow rightly expect transparency and honesty from their elected representatives.
“That’s why ‘Putting Residents First’ is the Harrow Conservatives’ core promise, especially given the allegations of corruption that surrounded the end of the previous Labour administration when they ran Harrow Council. It is even more confusing as to why Cllr. O’Dell has continued to appear on Labour Party literature as a Labour Councillor in Harrow East, and the Harrow Labour Group should clarify Cllr. O’Dell’s position immediately.
“It is vital that whatever the reason for Cllr. O’Dell’s suspension, it is investigated fully, thoroughly and openly. How are residents and more importantly, Cllr. O’Dell’s constituents able to judge the representatives they elect without all the facts? I know other Cllrs. have asked Cllr. O’Dell and the Harrow Labour Group for the reasons behind his suspension yet have received no clarification.
“It’s all very mysterious,” he added. “Of course we must not jump to conclusions, so I trust that any serious allegations or safeguarding concerns would be properly investigated by the Harrow Labour Group and the relevant processes that are there to protect us all.
“At the end of the day, putting residents first is what matters, regardless of party politics. Cllr. O’Dell and the Harrow Labour Group must clarify to the residents of Harrow and the constituents of Wealdstone North the true reason for the whip being removed from Cllr. O’Dell overnight.”
Speaking to VoteWatch, Harrow’s Conservative council leader said: “Whilst Labour might not want to tell me, the voters in Wealdstone North have a right to know what is going on.”