Seven senior Sheffield councillors who were suspended by Labour last month have today announced that they are quitting the party with immediate effect.
The seven Sheffield Labour councillors were suspended after refusing to tow the party line.
The suspensions followed a council meeting last month during which the seven councillors refused to vote with Labour over the city’s Local Plan.
The Labour Party declined to comment, but its National Executive said the suspensions in Sheffield were open-ended while investigations are being carried out.
Those suspended include former leader Terry Fox, his wife Denise Fox, and fellow Labour councillors Bryan Lodge, Julie Grocutt, Tony Damms, Garry Weatherall and Dianne Hurst.
It was initially understood that they would remain as Sheffield Labour Party members and will not sit as independents – a bizarre move that appears to imply that their suspensions are more symbolic and an attempt to pressure them into returning to voting how the Labour Party instructs them to.
However, today, all seven announced that they were resigning their Labour membership with “a heavy heart”.
A joint statement read: “[We] the undersigned have taken the decision to formally resign the Labour whip and resign our membership of the Labour Party with immediate effect.”
The group said it was apparent that “differences of opinion and approach” existed within the Sheffield Labour Party.
Responding to the news, Councillor Tom Hunt, Labour leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield is on the up. We are delivering an ambitious vision for the city, putting the people of Sheffield first.
“It is disappointing that these former members don’t want to support this.”
Sheffield Labour was placed in special measures by the national party earlier this year.
Councillor Fox quit as leader of the council on the morning of the local election count in May, after having been in the post since 2021.
The resignations mean there are now 32 Labour councillors, 29 Lib Dems, 14 Green, eight Independents and one Conservative.