District councillor quits Labour Party but stays in role as an Independent

Cllr Gregory at a SONIK demonstration

A district councillor has quit the Labour Party in a row about national policies and leadership and local splits.

Candy Gregory, who took one of the seats for Salmestone Ward at the 2019 local elections, will now represent residents as an Independent.

Cllr Gregory resigned from the party on August 12 following a suspension for sharing social media tweets related to a leaked Labour report about internal hostilities.

The report, which has claims of undermining election efforts, racism and misogyny, is now subject to an inquiry ordered by party leader Keir Starmer to examine both the contents and how it was authored and leaked.

Cllr Gregory said: “I was not expelled from the Labour Party. I was suspended for ‘liking’ 6 facebook and twitter posts and left by return of email. I have been unhappy with the leadership ever since I read all 860 pages of the leaked report. I feel it is the party machine working against the principles of the party.

“Before I was elected I was working for the party, unpaid as a volunteer, leafleting and canvassing. I knew there were problems with the region and NEC (National Executive Committee) but didn’t know why. Locally I felt there was orchestration of abuse and stifling free speech.”

The founder member of Save Our NHS in Kent and an animal rights campaigner is staying in her role as an Independent  with the support of the Salmestone Ward Residents Association.

She said: “The Salmestone Residents Association wants me to continue so I will.”

It is understood there have been other suspensions of Thanet Labour Party members, although not of other councillors.

Council leader Rick Everitt, also Thanet Labour Party leader, said: “I am sorry that Candy has decided to leave the party, but I’m not aware that the background has anything to do with the council.”

The district, which has 56 councillor seats, is now made up of 25 Conservative; 18 Labour; 7 Thanet Independents; 3 Green, 2 Independents and one vacant seat.

Despite having the larger number of councillors the authority is not Conservative-led following a vote of no confidence in Conservative leader Bob Bayford.

The motion was put by Thanet Independent Group leader Stuart Piper last October asking for the vote of no confidence and, an added amendment, for  the removal of Cllr Bayford from office.

A vote saw 29 in favour of removing Bob Bayford from leadership, 22 against and one abstention.

Nominations were then immediately made for a new leader, which was  won by Labour’s Rick Everitt, meaning not only was Bob Bayford ousted but the Conservatives lost control of the council.


  1. Any Councillor wishing to change political party mid-election cycle should have to pay for the full costs of a by election where they stand as a candidate for their new party.

    Anything else is extremely disrespectful to those residents who voted them in first time.

    • Thing is, you can assert that as a statement of what you feel, but there have been by-elections since forever at both local and national level due to politicians resigning their party’s whip, and AFAIK none has ever been expected to fund the cost. There’s not really any argument then for suddenly imposing such an expectation in this case.

      As a more general point, such a rule would also have the disadvantage of making politicians who really want to resign the whip, due to deep objection to their party leadership’s actions or policies, refrain from doing so due to the cost. The threat of party politicians resigning the whip is one of the few things that gives them any power pushing upwards to assert their party’s values and program, and limits the power of the leadership pushing downwards to act unilaterally.

  2. So that’s how those lunatic lefties got into power at TDC. A backroom stitch-up. Classic left-wing, God the left-wing are so vile. Sneering and preaching, looking down their noses and judging. Hypocrites the lot of them. Virtue signaling, posturing, and self-serving are the mainstays of the left-wing. Only Puritans, fanatics, extremists, the mad, and those who want to impose their minority opinions on the ‘poor and downtrodden’ become left-wingers. Creepy authoritarian intolerant puritans poking their bony fingers in hate and spite at everything and anyone. *shudders* Bleh Leftwingers. *washes hands* The stink of left-wingers is like sadness and hatred wrapped in hypocrisy tortilla.

  3. There’s no financial penalty to the council tax payer as there is if a by election is needed. Like the other Labour Councillor from Ramsgate who left TDC a few months ago creating a vacancy which will mean a by election will be inevitable

  4. The report to which Cllr Candy Gregory (IND) refers describes the behaviour of Labour HQ officers when Jeremy Corbyn was leader, not Keir Starmer.

    To assume her wards residents association represents the electorate is disingenuous.

    As a founder member of Sonik perhaps she would like to clear up the need for the public to repeatedly ask for so far unforthcoming detailed financial accounts to know exactly what they are doing with public money. Sonik itself has been partly a charade to boost Labour candidates election chances. It is lamentable too that it jointly went to the High Court for the Judicial Review over the withdrawal of the Stroke Unit at the QEQM but haven’t bothered to appeal the decision which the other party, Marion Keppel has and is awaiting an appeal date.

    • Cllr Karen Constantine, the backer of Marion Keppel judicial review, was under related TDC Standards complaint process which she ended by jumping ship from TDC. Questions pursue her to KCC Health Scrutiny Cttee.

      SONIK appear to have been advised re grounds for judicial review in March 2018 11 months before the CCG decision. During that 11 months was remedy, other than judicial review, available to them (And Cllr Constantine) ? Or did they connive at sustaining selective grounds for judicial review?

      In order to conceal connivance from High Court did SONIK change solicitors to Leigh Day ? And hence Leigh Day conceal Thanet environmental hazards to health, contrary to law aided and abetted by Cllr Constantine, from High Court ?

      Will Solicitor Regulation Authority investigate Leigh Day ? Who also allegedly concealed Thanet toxic environmental hazards to health from two QEQM maternity tragedy inquests.

      As for Corbyn and South Thanet Labour party ? STLP have among their number Corbyn’s mentor and election agent from Islington. STLP has a Labour communist personal associate of Corbyn, in trades union liaison role.

      I think tomorrow a film Coup 53 comes out. About the 1953 overthrow of Mossadeq in Iran. Whether the role of rabid Hitler admiring anti semite Labour MP Richard Rapier Stokes Ipswich emerges ? Stokes worked with Anglo Iranian Oil’s (BP) Sir Eric Berthoud, MI6 and CIA to orchestrate the coup. No inquiry into Labour anti semitism even scrapes the surface unless it investigates Stokes and his legacy.

      The IRA were official allies of Hitler during WW2. And had prepared a death list for Jews in Ireland in anticipation of Churchill yielding to Lord Halifax appeasement before Dunkirk. Halifax envoy to Mussolini behind Churchills back was Stokes.

      The judgement of Corbyn allying with IRA should have been scrutinized before the “Coup”, against his Islington predecessor Michael O Halloran, paved the way for trades union studies failure Corbyn into Islington.

  5. Just like to register my thanks to Cllr Candy Gregory, for her work as a Labour councillor, and before that as a hard working Labour volunteer, as well as leafleting, canvassing and campaigning Candy Gregory is a former Secretary of North Thanet Labour Party, I for one will miss Candy’s wise contributions at Labour meetings.

  6. There is a cost to the wider taxpayer of holding by elections. If a Councillor decides to switch allegiance after they have been voted in then they should pay these costs.

    If a Councillor just decides to stand down and not change political party then that is different.

    Although some voters vote for an individual in local elections there are many voters who will vote based on party loyalty. It is these voters who are shortchanged then a Councillor then decides to switch parties after they are elected.

    • Candy Gregory doesn’t appear to have ‘switched’, it looks more like she has been pushed out. She was suspended from the party she represented; rather than waste her energies on fighting to be reinstated (which requires a lot of work), she left. She is still a councillor, and still able to represent the residents in her ward. However, another TDC councillor stood down altogether in the new year, triggering a by-election in Newington ward. The by-election got underway but was then halted by Covid. It is yet to be re-run. That is genuinely disruptive. Approx 7 months in office, then walks away, leaving a gap which is as yet unfilled. You aren’t up in arms about that, because (I suspect) you are one of her tiny (but vocal) band of supporters.

      • Why resign from the party? Why not stand to fight whatever you were accused of? Others have stood their ground over suspension and won,some after years of being suspended. Seems to me resigning is not being true to your beliefs.

      • Carly Jeffrey. For once I totally agree with you with regard to the Councillor who stood down from Thanet Council in February I had a post on here following Christine Tongue’ s post and the said Councillor’s squirming rebuttal. It disappeared with Christine Tongue’s x 2 posts and the Councillor who shall remain nameless! I suppose my post asked too many questions of the said Councillor!

  7. I would encourage any Councillor, unhappy with the Party they were voted ‘in’ on, to resign their commitment to that Party and become an Independent.
    They should follow their head & heart feelings for the benefit of the local people, and not those of the Whitehall bunch.

    Salmestone Ward is one of the biggest Wards in Thanet, and therefore one of the most important, and should not be ignored by Party Leaders or the TDC. (as is the usual habit).
    I wish her Luck!

  8. When councillors or MPs leave their Parties to become Independents it usually means that they have some serious dispute with other Party colleagues about the policies they have been expected to vote for. But disagree with.
    But this is different. I expect that Councillor Gregory has few, if any, disagreements with local Labour colleagues or with the policies that she was originally elected to carry out.
    So there would be little point in wanting another election as she will be “carrying on as usual” in her Councillor activities. She won’t be suddenly voting for things she had previously opposed.
    Her resignation from Labour comes from the increasing practice in the Party of unelected paid officials deliberately harassing and thwarting loyal members from engaging in open discussion about Party policy and practices.
    Tony Blair casts a long shadow. He introduced a much more powerful system of paid administrators who oversee so much that the Labour Party does at regional level.
    They have the power to frustrate the Party members wishes.The recent revelations about how the 2017 and 2019 elections were sabotaged by Labour’s own internal administrators were just the tip of the iceberg. Councillor Gregory wished to debate this. And she has been forced out of the Party that she supports.

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