Veteran councillor's resignation from Labour Party sparks call for inquiry

Veteran councillor's resignation from Labour Party sparks call for inquiry <i>(Image: LDRS)</i>
Veteran councillor's resignation from Labour Party sparks call for inquiry (Image: LDRS)

A veteran Renfrewshire councillor’s resignation from the Labour Party after almost three decades of membership has sparked calls for an inquiry.

John Hood, a representative for Johnstone South and Elderslie, quit the organisation last week - a decision which he said was a “heartbreaking” move to make.

The elected member, who has followed in the footsteps of former group leader Eddie Devine, claimed upon his departure: “It’s come to light that senior members, not local, don’t want me in the party.”

Councillor Andy Doig, an independent member for Johnstone North and the surrounding villages, has written to Scottish Labour general secretary James Kelly expressing concern about his political peer’s explanation for leaving.

In a letter, he said: “The reason councillor Hood has given is that, ‘it’s come to light that senior members don’t want me in the party’.

“I want to let you know that councillor Hood is widely respected by the people of Johnstone and Elderslie as an extremely hard-working and diligent representative, who was a credit to the Labour Party, his community and to himself.

“It disturbs me in the extreme that there appears to have been some kind of vendetta against councillor Hood emanating from the upper echelons of Scottish Labour.”

Councillor Doig said he had been called by constituents in his own ward who were “concerned about the treatment” of councillor Hood.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

He then requested the party conduct an internal inquiry.

Councillor Doig added: “I believe this is in the public interest as councillor Hood would not have left the party he loved and served, without extreme provocation.”

Labour had 15 councillors elected in May but recent resignations have left them with 13 in the chambers.

Councillor Hood was environment spokesperson under the leadership of councillor Devine in the last term.

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Last week, he said: “I’ve had 20 years as a councillor and I’ve worked hard, I’ve worked damn hard.

“I’ve nearly killed myself in certain areas, because I’ve really not been well.

“I’ve had a brain tumour, had it operated on and then it’s come back and I’ve had radiotherapy and now it’s come back again, and it’s given me epilepsy as well.

“I work really hard in the council, but I can’t be in a party that doesn’t want me.”

A Labour source said if there was evidence of a “vendetta” it should be brought forward so a probe could take place.

“John is close to others who have recently left the party,” they said.

“Rather than engage with the group he was elected as part of, he has also chosen to leave.

“To attempt to justify his move, he has suggested there is some sort of vendetta.

“If there is evidence of this, he should provide it and allow for investigation.

“Local Labour figures have expressed grave scepticism of John’s claims.”

Councillor Hood said he has been contacted by “numerous” constituents since his resignation, who have supported him in his actions.

He added: “I won’t be standing down as a councillor and will continue to work hard for them.”

Scottish Labour has been contacted for comment.