Police conduct lawyer quits Labour blaming 'increased anti-Indian, antisemitic sentiment'

EXCLUSIVE: Sundip Meghani was overlooked as parliamentary candidate for Leicester East last December in favour of left-winger Claudia Webbe


A lawyer and ex-Labour councillor who was overlooked as the parliamentary candidate for Leicester East in favour of left-winger Claudia Webbe has resigned from the party blaming “increased anti-Indian, antisemitic, and anti-worker sentiment of recent years.”

In his resignation letter Sundip Meghani - a lead investigator at the Independent Office For Police Conduct - expresses deep regret over his decision to quit the party he first joined 20 years ago and which had been like "a surrogate family" to him.

But he accused “self-proclaimed Socialist Labour MPs” of “playing racist power games and identity politics, whilst professing to care about the public good.”

Speaking to the JC  Mr Meghani also alleged that in “recent years Indian-heritage Labour members have been bullied by fellow Labour activists, with derogatory comments alongside labels such as ‘Hindutva’ - a term used in the same way Zionist is sometimes deployed in a disparaging way when referencing Jewish people.”

Mr Meghani had been a Leicester city councillor for Beaumont Leys for four years up until 2015, a trade union branch leader, and a Leceister Police Authority member.

But he was left infuriated he said when his application to stand as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Leicester East in last December’s General Election was not even answered by party officials.

Weeks earlier Leicester East constituency Labour party (CLP) chairman John Thomas also announced he was quitting the party after suggesting a “fix” had left the pro-Jeremy Corbyn candidate Ms Webbe being selected for the safe seat.

Now in his own resignation letter, sent to Labour General Secretary David Evans on Saturday, Mr Meghani said he had decided to quit on the very same day as India’s Independence Day celebrations.

He wrote:”I am choosing to mark the occasion by leaving an organisation I know to be institutionally racist and anti-Indian.

“Also, I can no longer support a party that acts against the interests of working people, and is consistently embarrassed by Britain’s values and traditions.

“As a British Indian, I am proud of both facets of my identity.

“My Indian heritage, rooted in Gujarati culture and Hindu values; and my sense of Britishness, growing up in white working class areas of Leicester, before representing outer estates in local government. Both these communities no longer matter to the modern Labour Party.

“It is a sad indictment I should have to outline my background to reference the party’s bigotry and intolerance. But having lost its principles and all sense of direction, identity politics is the only language Labour now understands.”

Mr Meghani said that he, along with many of his community, were angered last September when Ms Webbe chaired an emergency debate on Kashmir at Labour’s Annual Conference in Brighton.

Drawing parallels with the party’s failure over antisemitism, he accused Ms Webbe, who was herself born in Leicester, of allowing “disgusting anti-Indian rhetoric to be openly aired without challenge” during the debate.

Newspaper reports last November confirmed Labour's then chairman Ian Lavery had issued a clarification letter admitting that an emergency motion passed by Labour at the annual conference had caused offence to some British Indians and to India himself.

In his resignation letter Mr Meghani said Labour's  "descent, from meritocracy to mediocrity, and its growing irrelevance to the lives of ordinary people, runs parallel with its increased anti-Indian, antisemitic and anti-worker sentiment of recent years.

“Playing racist power games and identity politics, whilst professing to care about the public good, is regressive and deceitful.”

While Mr Meghani reserved most of his fury for what had gone on under the previous leader the ex-Leicester West CLP member also criticised Sir Keir Starmer.

He wrote:”Despite the election of Sir Keir Starmer, a respectable man who is not a deluded Marxist, I have seen no evidence that sensible values will be restored; and that socialism, as an oppressive totalitarian ideology, will be ditched forever.”

Mr Meghani, a former President of Leicestershire Junior Lawyers, said he intended to shortly publish more detail  of his “experiences of anti-Indian bigotry and racial abuse in Labour over the last four years.”

Ms Webbe, who was selected to fight the Leicester East seat by a four-person party panel became the local MP in December with a reduced majority.


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