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Labour council leader who challenged antisemitism will stand down

Councillor Morgan had faced calls from colleagues to resign after he warned his own party about the antisemitism present at its conference in his city

    The Labour leader of Brighton and Hove council has announced he will step down, months after fellow Labour councillors urged him to resign after he highlighted antisemitism in the party.

    Warren Morgan told the BBC that while he had wanted to lead his colleagues into council elections next year, the “local Labour Party have made it clear they do not want me to do so”.

    He said he would be standing down as leader of the council in May, and would not be standing for re-election as a councillor next year.

    During last September’s Labour annual conference, Mr Morgan wrote to the party’s general secretary to express “concern at the antisemitism being aired publicly in fringe meetings and on the floor of conference”, which was taking place in Brighton.

    The actions included pamphlets being handed out about “the Zionist-Nazi connection”, and a speech in which an extreme anti-Zionist speaker talked about the need for “freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue” - such as whether the Holocaust happened.

    Mr Morgan warned that if such behaviour were to continue, he might block future attempts by his own party to hold the annual conference in the city. 

    "We have a significant Jewish community in Brighton and Hove, and I met with them only last week to discuss the antisemitism already on our streets, causing them fear and alarm,” Mr Morgan wrote at the time.

    "I will undoubtedly face questions as to why we allow any event where antisemitic views are freely expressed to happen in the city, particularly on council premises.

    "I will need reassurances that there will be no repeat of the behaviour and actions we have seen this week before any further bookings from the party are taken."

    Subsequently, the Brighton Argus quoted two Labour councillors who called for Mr Morgan’s resignation in response to the letter, with one saying that his action “caused real dismay and bewilderment amongst party members”, while another said Mr Morgan was “disaffected from the party in the city”.

    Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove, tweeted that Mr Morgan “gave his life to Labour in our wilderness years & never stopped until we were in power delivering the change we talk so much about.

    “Warren: you have been a better friend to Labour than we have to you. Thanks for your service.”

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