Shock resignation of district councillor for Newington

Karen Constantine

A district councillor for Ramsgate has resigned her seat.

The sudden resignation of Karen Constantine, who was elected to the Newington ward seat at last year’s May elections, was made at the beginning of a full council meeting tonight (February 6) by authority chairman Cllr Jason Savage.

Cllr Constantine was not present at the meeting.

No reason has been given for the step down although Cllr Constantine, who appears to still be a member at county council, confirmed she no longer represents the ward at district level.

Cllr Constantine has been involved with a campaign for increased mental health services in Thanet and is also a backer of a Judicial Review case against plans to relocate Thanet’s acute stroke service to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

However, there has also been a fissure within the local party, evident during the campaign by Cllr Constantine to run as a parliamentary candidate for South Thanet. The attempt was eventually taken on by Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt who was defeated at the election in December by Conservative Craig Mackinlay.

There has also been a long-running dispute over blogs by former councillor Ian Driver which have included pieces on Cllr Constantine’s CV, the events leading up to the refusal of endorsement as parliamentary candidate for Labour’s Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt and the selling of Lush products to fund an election campaign.

Cllr Constantine previously told The Isle of Thanet News that she had sought legal advice over the blogs and had reported the publications to the police several times.

Cllr Constantine has been asked for a statement about the resignation.

The vacancy is likely to result in a by election for the seat.


  1. Please don’t give Driver credit for this
    He really has acted abysmally with his tirades against Labour

    • Ian Driver is embittered and vindictive. I don’t know how many people read his blogs but hardly anyone comments on them.

      • I have tried to comment on Ian Driver’s blogs but he only allows comments to be published that wholeheartedly agree with him. He has run nasty, vindictive campaigns against several figures in the local Labour Party, of which he used to be a member, but has also had a long history of falling out with ex-colleagues in other, usually far left, political parties and groups that he has been a member of as well as repeatedly attacking figures in public life who cannot fight back. Karen has actually dared stand up to his bullying behaviour which is probably why he has had a vendetta against her.

        • Yes, I was on the receiving end myself on more than one occasion including a comment ”She couldn’t be bothered to get off her a*** to attend a meeting’ that happened when I was on holiday and none of our then very small Labour Group was available.

          He obviously thought we should have cancelled our commitments to attend a rubber-stamping meeting on asset sell-offs.

  2. Really saddened and shocked to read this news. I worked with Karen on a number of NHS campaigns and know how hard she worked and totally committed to supporting QEQM. A true Socialist.

  3. I have worked with Karen on Summer Kitchen and on the judicial review led by Marion Keppel. I valued her political intelligence, her hard work and her kindness. This is a real loss.

    • I was involved in the first Summer Kitchen with Sharon, Karen and Barry Lewis and know it was the determination of all involved that got it off the ground. I couldn’t help laat year as I’d had eye operations but know Karen was another vital cog in the smooth-running mechanism that is Summer Kitchen.

      She will be very much missed!

  4. Well done Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, Graham Bash and the staunch socialist team that now dominates local Labour. You have succeeded as ideologues and completely failed as politicians and engaging practically with the community. You have excluded anyone who doesn’t always agree with you. Your virtue signalling insularity lost us the South Thanet seat – why did Rosie Duffield MP win? You can bleat Brexit and antipathetic media, but you have alienated and abused many including members of the local Green Party and ignored the traditional Labour voters in South Thanet. I am very sorry that Karen has resigned but is it any surprise after the Labour Group at TDC offered her no support in identifying the bullying at TDC by the Corporate Management Team? South Thanet Labour Party may survive amongst its cava-supping gentrifying elite, but frankly, you have demonstrated how little you understand the people in this community – indeed people.
    This is sad news Karen Constantine. We’ve disagreed on much but there is no-one left in the Party locally who can match your courage, energy and engagement.

    • Clare, you have provided an excellent summary of what local Labour has become. I can’t really add much more except to say that although I’ve not always agreed with Karen’s policies there is no doubt how committed she has been to the local area.
      Yet, Labour decided to parachute in another candidate Rebecca Gordon Nesbit who fitted the national Labour ethos. An ethos which was so overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate. Yet still UK Labour will tell you how they lost the election but won the argument, as they are in complete denial about their failings.

      • This is nonsense! Rebecca lives in Ramsgate, and has worked hard for local people, especially with SONiC, trying to maintain Margate Hospital from being broken up! I will not say anything detrimental against Karon, except to say she has put her own personal ambition before what the Local Labour Party chose as Parliamentary candidate, and it wasn’t her!

        • Speak as you find. I am not a member of any political party, and I have no knowledge of the internecine infighting at South Thanet Constituency Labour Party. I have never met Rebecca Gordon-Nesbit, but I do know she has been a hard worker defending Margate hospital from the clutches of the local Clinical Commissioning Group who want to break it up!

          Rebecca helped me when I was locked in mortal combat with the NHS, and she gave me some vitally important advice, which had national implications, and which changed NHS practice and criteria for the good of hundreds of thousands of people! She also lives in Ramsgate, and wasn’t parachuted in!

          The limited contact I had with Karon did not inspire me with confidence, and its the local Labour Party who decide who they want as a constituency candidate! The fact Labour did not win in South Thanet in the General Election, had nothing to do with Rebecca, it was reflected nationally, when long serving MP’s of all parties lost their seats, due to xenophobic resentment!

  5. As the Labour party county councils chief whip karen remains a Labour county councillor and fully supports the party line on all policies

  6. Very sad to read. QEQM, Summer Kitchen, Mental Health & Substance Abuse issues, proposal to reopen Manston Airport, Travellers & Gypsies, Police in Ramsgate, Streetlighting and more, are all issues that I know Karen worked hard to redress. As a resident I was and am thankful. THANK YOU KAREN

  7. Sad to hear this news as all those in Thanet who have seen her commitment will know, but perhaps she will be able to return after break . Work as a dedicated TDC Councillor is very demanding and time consuming. Karen will certainly be missed.

  8. I am very sorry to hear that Karen is leaving the TDC and people all over Thanet will miss her not only her Newington Ward. I am very sure that the KCC are glad that they will not lose her and I’m sure she will continue to do her utmost there. I don’t understand Clare Dove’s message at all. Karen is also a staunch socialist, surely, who has always backed the manifesto. I don’t know what she means by the “team” of Cava drinkers. We all belong to a “team” of nearly half a million people. Solidarity Karen, I’m sure you know what you are doing. Jane

  9. Another victim of the me! me! look at ME! Ian Driver,but then again Karen has jumped on so many band wagons to promote herself the public have got weary of her.
    All the QEQM’s and other campaigns will be better off without her.
    Onwards and upwards.

  10. What dedicated virtue-signally we have here by the die hard Labour supporters yet not one of you knows just why the lady resigned………………..or do you?

    The only ones celebrating are the 21 Tory councillors who last night showed their contempt for the electorate by abstaining on a budget vote.
    Then we have the many Tory voters in Birchington and Westgate who are complaining about the 3500 houses being dumped on green fields by those self same Tory Councillors.
    Total hypocrisy does no one stand for the man (or woman) on the street?

  11. Jane Lee, not understanding my comments is part of the problem that you and the rest of the team appear to be blind to. You too are a recent member of this community and whilst I respect your background and understand it, sadly it does not necessarily equip you to appreciate the people who form the majority of this community and not just your own closed culture. Perhaps it will all work out in the end when Thanet is dominated by well-meaning gentrifiers.

    • Who are the members of the team to which Clare Dove refers? As a non-Cava drinking socialist, I would like to know.


  12. And Jane, Karen is a pragmatic socialist and her commitment comes from personal experience, trade-unionism and much more. She is a bloody good communicator too.

  13. Let’s not all jump to conclusions. If Cllr Constantine is staying on as a KCC Councillor rather than on Ramsgate Town Council then I can see that this is a sensible choice as it must be very difficult to do BOTH jobs. So it seems logical to give up one of them.
    As for all the bitterness and division being aired on these pages, I would ask, as a local Labour Party member, that you desist from arguing in public about what appears to be rather personal stuff. Because, for all my local commitment, I really don’t have a clue what you are arguing about!

    PS I am a socialist and I have drunk Cava sometimes in the past and I quite liked it. I recall the rotund British character actor , Robert Morley, who always played posh, upper-class types, responding to the accusation that he was a “Champagne Socialist” by agreeing proudly with the accusation, announcing that “After the Revolution, everybody will drink champagne!”

  14. Keefogs, you forgot ‘gentrifying elite”. And as a local Labour Party member perhaps you should pay more attention to what is going on in the CLP and the use of social media to flog fake claims by some in the current EC and GC.

  15. Clare Dove isn’t a Labour party member. She is full of endless criticism and bile which gives the impression she’s ‘in the know’; that couldn’t be further from the truth. She’s the epitpme of an internet troll.

    No reason has been given for Cllr Constantine’s exit from TDC, so those speculating about the reasons why (only 2 people I can see) are just stirring the pot.

    • Thank you Carly Jeffrey, for a clear unbiased response,a breath of fresh air after some extremelly personal vile trolling

    • A bit like you Carly Jeffrey. I still have the screenshot of the vile meme, from your timeline, which was put up by a fellow caring Labour friend of yours. You can’t accuse someome of ‘endless criticism’ when you do exactly the same.

    • Carly, I think the tone and detail of your comment exemplifies the point that Clare Dove was making. You call her an internet troll because she doesn’t agree with you.
      People are allowed to comment on the state of the Labour party without being a member. As someone points out, how do you know who is and isn’t a member?

  16. Does Carly Jeffrey have a complete membership list? Otherwise, how on earth does she know Clare Dove’s membership status? And why is she advertising Ms Dove’s relationship to the party in any case? Can she enlighten us regarding the Labour party membership status of everyone else posting here?

  17. As a political neutral I find the airing of dirty laundry in public hilarious.
    At least I suppose it is different from the Tory party who stab people in the back behind closed doors.
    No wonder those members of the public who want to make changes don’t put themselves up for election and by doing so make themselves targets for the type of bile on display here

  18. There is too much that needs doing to waste time and energy on doing each other down. We seem not to be very good any more at enjoying our politics, at collaborating, coming together.
    Local politics should, in my book, be more about local than political. We need to listen to each other more. Coastal towns have always been difficult to manage and austerity which just goes on and on does not help.

    Thanet district council has a rule that we are not allowed to sell on the street. I believe that this is responsible for us not having a place where we could have what I refer to in a shorthand way as ‘ the Covent Garden experience’. Those of you who have been to Covent Garden in London will know what a stylish, fun , lively place it is. Culture comes alive on the street.: jugglers, musicians, comedians. The sort of entertainment i am told again and again people want. Would we like such a place?

  19. Unelected people are entitled to criticise councillors, but when it strays into personal attacks that must be condemned. I am sure karen will speak for herself why she wants to stay as a county councillor but not as a district councillor.all I know is she has been a loyal and hard working councillor.

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