TWO Councillors have dramatically resigned from representing the Labour Party in Sandwell, announcing their belief that the Labour-run council is attempting to cover-up corruption and “wrong-doing”.
Councillor Joanne Hadley, who represents Great Bridge ward, says she will continue as an independent candidate, but that she could no longer work for Labour, citing “ongoing attempts to cover up political corruption in the Sandwell Labour Group”.
Hadley’s shock announcement follows the resignation of former Sandwell Council leader Yvonne Davies, who quit Labour on Wednesday, claiming the party was attempting to “bury the truth about wrongdoing” at the local authority.
Commenting on her decision to join her colleague in leaving, Hadley said: “I have today resigned from the Labour party as I’m disgusted by the ongoing attempts to cover up political corruption in the Sandwell Labour Group as well as its treatment of strong local women.
“The party has elbowed aside excellent female standing councillors and faceless party officials from London have imposed candidates, including one who has committed gross misconduct – which is a disgrace.
“I’m not prepared to stay in a party that has no place for strong local women.”
“I was a member of the Sandwell Cabinet for 18 months under Yvonne Davies and we worked so hard to clean-up politics in the borough and to uncover the corruption and cronyism that had been how Labour had run Sandwell for many years.
“Suspending and deselecting councillors is part of a concerted attempt by the party to bury this and to prevent councillors being held to account for wrongdoing.
“They’ll sell the people of Sandwell down the river just to protect their own friends.
“I’ve lived in Sandwell for all my life. I’ve run a business here. I’m part of the community, it runs through my blood.
“What Sandwell Council needs is a strong independent party to hold the Labour group to account. I am committing myself to working to establish that Sandwell Independent Party.
“We also need the voters in Sandwell to take a stand against Labour corruption in the Council and to signal this at the ballot box on May 6.
“People have a choice and an opportunity to make a difference.
“They need to recognise that the Labour party in Sandwell will always put the Labour Party first rather than the people of the Sandwell.
“Sandwell needs councillors that put people and services first.
“Hadley did not go into detail about the specific nature of the corruption allegations. VoteWatch has approached Sandwell Council for comment.”