Councilor suspended by Labor for ‘retweeting’ Corbyn tweets

A Merseyside councilor claims he was suspended for ‘retweeting’ two tweets relating to Jeremy Corbyn.

Janis Blackburne, Labor councilor for Kew in Southport, said she was informed of her suspension on Friday, just a day after submitting her application documents. The 70-year-old councilor has now expressed anger at the party for suspending her six months after the initial notice that the party was reviewing the tweets.

The retired teacher is now set to step down from her post in May, despite suggestions from others that she should stand as an independent candidate. Speaking to ECHO, she expressed her opinion on the suspension.

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Cllr Blackburne told ECHO: “At 5pm on Friday I received an email from the National Party saying I was suspended for six months. I am not allowed to campaign, go to meetings, to advocate for anything or to do anything.

“The day before, Thursday March 31, I had handed in my candidacy papers. I had been told that I could stand as a Labor candidate but I could not campaign and no one else could campaign for me under any shape whatsoever.

“The timing couldn’t have been worse and I found myself in this weird limbo. I didn’t know what to do at first and I was like ‘I’m going to be clumsy and I’m going to stand up’ because I was a municipal councilor for four years, I have a track record, I have been distributing leaflets and campaigning since mid-January with groups of people.

“I was going to but it upset some people because it meant we risked losing the seat and in Southport it’s not easy to get votes. The people of Southport are not naturally Labour.”

Cllr Blackburne has been named the first Labor councilor to be elected to Southport since the historic boundary change in 1974 with her appointment to Kew in 2018.

She called the situation “unfair”. Fighting back tears, she said: “I’m angry and I think it’s very unfair. Every time I talk about it I get upset. I’ve put a lot of work into it as an adviser and campaigner. I feel like it’s all been scrapped.”

A Labor Party spokesman said: ‘We cannot comment on individual cases. Any complaints received by the party are investigated in accordance with our rules and procedures.

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