DURING a council meeting in Slough, Labour councillors were filmed swearing at and bullying a female councillor – simply for not voting how they wanted her to, and for announcing that she was leaving their crumbling party.
Slough’s council, which is run by a local Labour branch mired in allegations of corruption and vote-rigging, sought to increase council tax – despite recently giving themselves a healthy pay rise.
In understandable objection to the move, Councillor Madhuri Bedi refused to vote in favour of the motion and announced her resignation to her colleagues attending the full council meeting via Zoom.
Bedi said that she was ‘saddened’ by the decision for the council to increase tax – just one of many Labour-run councils across the country to decide to do so in recent months – and highlighted that local residents were already experiencing financial hardship.
“There is no doubt the past year has been incredibly challenging” she said. “Covid-19 and lockdown has caused councils all over England to lose millions in revenue that is relied on to run services.
“Our Slough community in common with others has been severely impacted. In a year that has brought a Tsunami of grief, mental health concerns, high unemployment, increase in domestic abuse and huge financial burdens, residents would have welcomed a freeze or smaller increase to council tax.
“Had we chosen to do this it would’ve shown that we care, understand we are there at a time of great need.”
The councillor also accused the council of financial mismanagement, saying that it the local Labour officials had ‘squandered’ money on its £39 million town centre headquarters, and said that all decisions over finance and assets were being made by one person, Council Leader James Swindlehurst.
Bedi was immediately set upon from the start of her contribution to the meeting, with one Labour councillor becoming abusive and swearing at her for not voting for the tax rise to pass – an aggressive incident that was not addressed by Labour officials overseeing the meeting.
In an offensive moment of bullying, and an attempt to humiliate the hardworking local councillor, Swindlehurst then announced to the group that “All people who choose to leave us, the same fate befalls them all – you never hear from them ever again because the public don’t put their faith in traitors and quitters and splitters.”
Shockingly, neither the abusive language nor attacks on Bedi’s character have yet been addressed, and do not look likely to be.
Speaking to VoteWatch, Mherunisa Hussain, popular Chairman of the Slough Conservative Association, slammed the vile behaviour.
“As a young female in politics, I was very saddened to see a fellow woman being bullied” she said. “The behaviour towards Cllr Bedi was absolutely unacceptable.
“This is not what I expect to see, especially on International Women’s Day. Nonetheless, Cllr Bedi handled the appalling reaction from the Slough Labour leader and his deputy, with dignity and class.
“I am very proud to say our Group Leader Cllr Strutton called out the bullying directed at Cllr Bedi, words like ‘traitors’ and ‘quitters’ are completely unacceptable, regardless of one’s political beliefs. We do not condone any form of bullying and will continue to stand against this behaviour in Slough.”