Councillor becomes independent after quitting Labour Party

Cllr Mark Hopkinson

A Ramsgate councillor will now carry out his role as an independent after quitting the Labour Party.

Mark Hopkinson represents Sir Moses Montefiore ward and was elected as a district councillor in the 2019 elections.

But he has now left the party blaming events at a national level.

In a lengthy statement, he said: “The current Tory government is chaotic, self-serving and ideologically blinded to the incredible damage they have done to our society in the last 13 years. They don’t represent or understand ordinary working people and ultimately, they don’t care about them, so long as they can cling to power.  It’s vital that they are removed from power as soon as possible.

“However, wanting the Tories out of power isn’t in itself a reason to defend and support the Labour Party. I’ve decided today that the long list of reasons to separate myself from Labour has reached a tipping point and I’d like the chance to explain why, especially to those that elected me to represent them at Thanet District Council in 2019.

“Appalling events in Knowsley this week demonstrate the mess that our society is in right now. The justifiable anger and frustration of ordinary working people is being twisted and displaced onto scapegoats that aren’t the real cause of our social and economic problems at all.

“Self-serving, right-wing politicians and the right-wing press want our anger directed at asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution. They push this to deflect our attention and anger from those who’ve massively increased inequality and unnecessarily destroyed our public services for ideological reasons. I expect all of this from the Tory party. But for me, if the Labour party doesn’t fight this divisive rhetoric, it stands for nothing at all. “The current Labour leader has signalled his support for tagging asylum seekers. I don’t think he believes this is a sensible policy that will help anyone.

“I think he just believes this is the best triangulation strategy to help win votes and to draw an unnecessary ideological dividing line between himself and anything he perceives as in any way left wing.

”I don’t think he cares what the real world consequences are. It is a pointless, vindictive policy and it was depressing to see Angela Rayner squirm and then admit that she supports this policy on national TV today. The Labour leadership, then, seem prepared to go along with the hateful distortions of the right wing instead of calling out the real causes of our problems.

“ For me, political leadership and responsibility is about speaking plainly, from the heart and from a position of principle. I joined the Labour party because there was a chance to build a party politics based on honesty, integrity and member-lead democracy: something I had never seen before in my adult life in British political life.

“I am a socialist. You can agree or disagree with me about that but we should at least all speak from the heart about what we want in our politics. I might just about prefer a Starmer led government to the chaos of this Tory government, but I’m not prepared to give my name as a district councillor or a party member to a politics free from basic decency.

“Today’s announcements from Labour are just the latest additions to an ever increasing list of political positions that I fundamentally disagree with. Not least of which is Wes Streeting’s recent announcement (with Stamer’s approval) that a Labour government would seek to extend the privatisation of our National Health Service.

“The public have been fed a lie that austerity is necessary and that the country’s “credit card has been maxed out”. This lie is only brought out when it comes to paying working people better and funding our health and education services, but never when it comes to tax cuts for the rich contracts for government minister’s best mates or funnelling more money into defence budgets.

“The reality is that cutting public spending, increasing poverty and inequality all serve only to bring society to a halt and stack up all kinds of future social and economic costs. Even on the Tories’ terms – where economic growth is the only marker of success – this government has been an unmitigated disaster.

“Labour after 2015 helped dismantle the myth that austerity was necessary and showed it up as the ideological attack on anything that is publicly owned for the good of ordinary working people that it really was. It did this by speaking plainly and honestly from a position of principle. But Starmer’s recent statement that Labour won’t “turn on the spending taps” – as sensible sounding as ever – is part of this same deception and leaves me having no faith that a Labour government will bring about the changes we desperately need.

“I hope I am wrong. I hope Starmer will lead a government that can start to address the multiple crises we face. But I have lost faith in this and I am not prepared to put my name to the project that is the current Labour party.”

Cllr Hopkinson has not confirmed whether he will fight to retain his council seat at the upcoming local elections in May.


  1. Another loony-left dinosaur who is completely out of touch with public feeling, not just in Thanet, or the UK, but the whole world over. Woke is dead: First Jacinda Ardern, now Nicola Sturgeon, and very likely next Justin Trudeau – gone, because they followed their own idealogy instead of what the public at large want. At least Sir Starmer has some sense. I may well vote Labour next time, if he carries on the good work (shame that he’s had a charisma bypass though).

    • Well said Peter. The woke brigade are living in a dreamworld that is getting smaller each day. It’s time that politicians listened to the majority when it comes to illegal immigration rather than pandering to far left fringe groups.

      • Peter and the rest of you just don’t want to understand that people(sic) can be wrong! Just look at the millions of gullible idiots who fell for Trump’s lies, and Putin’s, who voted for them! The same applies to so called Brexiters who were taken in by Johnson’s lies too!

        I lived when millions of people were murdered on the orders of a maniac who deemed Jews were not human beings, and deserved to die! So, what would all you people say if the Asylum Seekers risking their lives to get to the UK were Jews, would that make any difference to your ill thought out views? I too resigned from the Labour Party after the war criminal Blair declared war on Iraq in 2003, that needlessly cost tens of thousands of innocent people their lives! I do not trust Starmer, who is Tory lite!

    • I will vote Labour because the Tories are so awful- and so nasty- but I don’t like the way that the Labour Party is moving to the right, just like Tony Blair’s government did.

    • I see Peter is creating fake identities to agree with himself again. Is there anyone more sad in Thanet? Probably not.

  2. One must remember that Starmer was a member of the Secret Services and indeed he may still be so . It is conceivable that he does not want Labour to win the election at all – he seems to be intent on removing all the most experienced Labour party MPS, who do not support him. What is the truth about his relations with Mossad and the apartheid government of Israel?

    • Well if that is the case, he needs to do a better job of not attracting disgruntled Tories (like me)! Fact is, Labour can only win by becoming Tory-lite. Blair knew that, and so does Starmer.

    • Ah, not long before you had to mention Mossad and Israel. So typical of the hard left Corbyn supporting cabal.
      Well, thank goodness you have stepped down. I’m no fan of Starmer but at least he’s clearing out the hard left.

    • I’m curious why you raised Israel as an issue here? There are so many national (UK) issues that must have upset you about Starmer, why go for Palestine?

      • I didn’t mention Palestine, that was Martin Hopkinson, who sounds like me but is an entirely separate human. But now you mention it, Starmer’s bizarre claim that he disagrees with Betselem (Israelai human rights organisation) and Amnesty International’s view that Israel is currently operating as an apartheid state – according to the legal definition of that term – is yet another indication of the fact he does not speak or act from a position of political or moral principle.

      • Why be concerned about Israel/Palestine? Did you think apartheid was acceptable in South Africa? The same brutality is occurring to Palestinians now. People watch documentaries about historical injustuces and convince themselves that they would be one of those that fights against injustice if it was happening in their era, but in reality they don’t. They allow themselves to be blinkered and they deride those that do speak out. Let’s be clear, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the UN have all categorised the regime in Israel as apartheid. It’s in the public domain.

        • Carly, if this is directed at me all I did was ask the question. As it is I made the mistake of thinking it was Mark Hopkinson, rather than Martin who raised it.
          As it is I wondered what prompted Martin to bring up Palestine?

  3. Starmer has alienated a huge swathe of decent & honest people. That’s 4 local councillors who have become Independent due to Starmers behaviours. Doesnt bode well for the future of that version of the Labour party. Dreading another Tory government at the next GE for the poor & vulnerable.

  4. Doesn’t mention that Labour had deselected him and picked two much better and more hard working candidates for Moses Montefiore ward. He was selected to stand for KCC, never did a stroke and refused to work with Labour’s eventually successful candidate. So you didn’t leave the Labour Party, it had already left you. It is a long hard slog to change things for the better but, whatever criticisms we may have of the current leadership, you won’t change anything without the forces of the Labour movement.

    • Keith, I think it’s fair to say Lab leadership doesnt have the support of the labour movement rank and file because it has sold them down the swanny! Starmer is causing all kinds of divisions with his don’t attend picket lines, further privatise the NHS, tag asylum seekers, de-select Corbyn, etc.
      Starmer will achieve success in one area – snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory!

      • I have been a Labour Party member through the years of Harold Wilson (dodgiest Leader ever!), the smug James Callaghan, the confused Michael Foot, the windbag Neil Kinnock, the much better John Smith who sadly died young, Blair & Brown with their Iraq war, the hapless Ed Miliband and eventually my old pal Jeremy. Through all of this, Labour bought in the National Minimum wage, Sure Start, Equal Marriage, the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland, banned fox hunting, stopped the cruel fur trade, bought in the pensioner bus pass, statutory sick pay, the equal pay act, employment tribunals, devolution for Wales and Scotland, and loads of other changes that I am sure any progressive person would welcome.

        • Keith, all true but it’s hard not to look at all the things Lab did that were awful, divisive and, in effect, anti-labour, and all the awful Tory things Lab chose not to undo.
          If Labour elitists had not campaigned and lied about Corbyn he may have been the best PM we’ve had since 1945.
          The Labour Party can’t do “socialism” because they are not a socialist entity.
          They rely on the labour movement to gain power and then proceeded to back stab their supporters all the way to the next election.
          The UK, (until the Tory’s un-unite it) needs a progressive alliance and a government of national unity.

        • Same sex marriage was Cameron.

          Tuition fees have led to more working class people, not less, entering University. No longer subject to the old privileged bias interview route.

          Fees, like it or not, have made it more equal. Unlike Scotland where the old school divides still show in admissions.

          • Rubbish. I personally know several working class people who got into University in the 60s and 70s (and didn’t have decades of debts afterwards).

            As for Gay Marriage, such a huge change should’ve been put to the public vote.

        • And stopped smoking in pubs Keith! Thats the only thing I remember Blair doing that affected me, except it didn’t! The day smoking was stopped, I was on holiday in Jersey in 2007, and my lady friend and I decided to lunch at a pub/restaurant. As in the past after ordering our meal, we went out to the garden, but our meal was ruined because all the smokers had gone there too! Blair made a mess of hunting, that is till occurring, and the fur trade still exists because it can be imported. Everything Blair did was half hearted, and I quite expect Starmer to be the same!

    • How can he be deselected if he hasn’t put himself forward for running again this years elections? You’re not being very honest here

    • Thanks for attempting to contribute to the debate Keith but that’s wrong. I could have applied for reselection but chose not to.

      • It seems to be a ‘thing’ amongst Labour these days. Mark did the right thing. Labour has lost its way & lost members & voters due to the combative behaviours of those that Starmer feels should remain

        • I don’t mind using my own name! Mark is a man of integrity. He’s done well to speak out about the state of the Labour Party. Keith Veness you’re not giving socialists a good name. And i look forward to hearing whether you’ll campaign for your old friend Jeremy Corbyn – another man of integrity – if he stands as an independent parliamentary candidate.

    • Keith Veness is notorious for meeting with a right wing hatchet-job author and telling a bunch of prurient and pointless stories about his former acquaintances in the Labour party. It was serialised in the Daily Mail and resulted in non-stop smear pieces for months. The book (by Tom Bower) was designed to prevent Labour from winning the general election in 2019. Keith Veness’s idiotic ramblings formed some of the biggest ‘scoops’ in the book. When the book and Daily Mail pieces came out, anyone with any sense in the Labour party distanced themselves from Veness and his wife, but Veness still kept standing up at local party meetings to boast how close he was with leading party figures – even though we all knew it wasn’t true. It was quite pitiful to watch. He was hardly a credible figure before the Tom Bower incident anyway. The question ever since has been whether it was a deliberate act of sabotage or if it was just plain stupidity and him enjoying the attention and the chance to aggrandize himself.

  5. If he did the honest thing and resigned, there cannot be any by-elections in the last six months of the Council. It is now February and the Council elections are in May so the Brian Stewart remarks may be well meant but they are just plain inaccurate.

  6. Nicola Sturgeon has been a dominant figure in Scottish and UK politics for more than 20 years, fighting for her beliefs with undoubted passion and commitment.

    I wish her well in the future.

  7. Sir Kier Starmer having a clear out of al whom he believes are rebels. If they don’t like his policies they should leave the party he states. Personally I believe he has a long way to go.

    I look forward to the May elections to see how some of the dubious prospective candidates faire in Thanet especially in Ramsgate wards. I then look forward to the general and county elections again to see how the dubious candidates faire.

    We in Fanet elect people to represent our the publics views, thoughts and wishes not personal or party views or policies.

    Fanet is following in the footsteps of Swale and other councils in that it it is nearly bankrupt because of mismanagement. RTC decide to donate public funds to the tune of £10k to a cause that they believe is justifiable without asking the residents of Ramsgate as a whole if this expense is justifiable.

    Until we in Thanet can attract the right calibre of candidates we will potentially continue in a downward spiral.

  8. Unfortunately for the Labour Party, I have to agree with Mark Hopkinson. The Labour Party seem to be courting the unhappy Tory voter (viz Peter) and risk losing their socialist leaning core voters in the process. As we don’t have PR yet, when it comes to the GE many of us will feel obliged to tactically vote our Tory MP out just to rid ourselves of this vile greedy Tory government, but I will be most unhappy if the subsequent Labour government chooses to continue down this Tory-lite route. Oh, for a good, intelligent, open, caring alternative party that had a chance to take control of this fast declining country and turn things around. Fat chance of that at the moment.

      • The NHS is a socialist institution, pooling the resources of the many to provide ostensibly free healthcare to all. No bills, no fees to pay when you are suffering. Everyone treated the same, no matter how rich or poor. The socialist Nye Bevan brought it into being at a time when our country was desperately poor, post WWII. The NHS boosted the health of the workforce and helped our country to its feet. Socialism has existed here and it still benefits us all. Possibly not for much longer though.

  9. I’m really at a loss to know who to vote for at the next general election. I’m sick of the local labour councillors because of their anti Manston Airport so I won’t be voting for them or the Greens I’m not keen at all on Craig McKinley but I like Sir Roger Gale as a person, I don’t know who the labour candidate is or I’ve forgotten. I don’t believe all the rot about climate change. I can’t trust the reform party in any event they won’t get far. So I’m not at all looking forward to the next general election but I do hope many of the current MPs are sent packing.

  10. Peter, The Manston migrant camp was not doing any one any good there was a diphtheria outbreak one person died there it was overcrowded so something had to be done so Sir Roger highlighted the problem and suggested a solution.

  11. How an earth can any rational person think austerity was not required, unfortunately the government cannot just spend money, it has to collect in through taxes first.
    Just as aside the Doctors, teachers, nurses, train drivers who are going on strike or thinking about it are likely to start another round of austerity. They are essential to our society, but they do not produce anything tangible, and can only be paid what society can afford.

  12. He’s been the invisible man as far as his ward residents are concerned since 2019 so I wouldn’t say it’s a huge loss.

  13. I don’t blame Mark Hopkinson at all. Starmer has a policy of letting the Tories mess it up with corruption ,scandal and inefficiency(which always happens) then coming along as the new , better, more honest, Tory Party. A kind of “Tory Second Eleven”, filling in when the First Team finally disappointed their fans.
    We’ve been here before. Blair and Brown did the same. The Tories were overwhelmed with scandals (more sexual ones back then, I thought) and looking short of ideas.
    So Blair/Brown got elected three times in a row but ,each time, the Labour vote kept going down and down until ,inevitably, the Tory “First Team” got back in.
    It’s worth pointing out that Corbin, in 2017, got more votes than Blair did when first elected, and even in 2019(the Brexit election) Corbin got more votes for Labour than Blair got in his own last General Election.(Corbin’s personal vote in his own constituency went UP in the 2019 election.)
    It isn’t “obvious” that Labour has to sound more “Tory-lite” to get elected. That tends to be the view of London analysists and journalists on Tory papers who realise they have to start working on the “Second Eleven” attitudes as things are changing.
    But ,if you are a Labour member, and haven’t been expelled for “thought crimes”, how do you still hang on, wanting to do good things for the local people but knowing that national leaders have nothing to offer but the same old Tory policies but just with different faces and voices ?

  14. Barry Lewis you should be next to quit, you’d be better as an independent and not hiding behind the Labour Party name

  15. The British public are basically conservative in outlook, disliking change unless it can be clearly demonstrated that it is worthwhile, they are reasonably patriotic and somewhat curmudgeonly to foreigners. That was true in 1945 as it is now. Starmer knows this and is trying to sail Labour nearer the mainstream. The Conservative party is doing the opposite, they are operating as a badly run 6th form debating society, with zealots running around like lunatics, damaging the economy and the country.
    I don’t care who gets elected as long as we do not have repeat of the forked tongued, snake oil sales persons, we have suffered in recent years. I am tired of all these fake nostrums, moon shot policies and anti-vax lunacy. What’s more I think the country is as well. Mr Hopkinson would be as well to remember all this and to knuckle down in the remaining 2 months of this council and try to do something useful.
    If you want a historical perspective to all this, don’t think about 1992 or 1997, but instead think of 1906, when a similar govt got elected on a whim ( the infamous khaki election of 1900 after Mafeking and the 2nd Boer war), when a war not Brexit was said to be won (it wasn’t, it dragged on for 2 more years and cost the UK dearly in terms of cash and morality (Concentration camps originated here)) and the Tory party changed leader and split over free trade. The Liberals fielded Henry Campbell – Bannerman a stolid and somewhat boring leader who bided his time and watched A.J Balfour (yes, he of the infamous Balfour declaration) to implode, which he did in 1905.The 1906 election hammered the Conservative party, but strategically it was a disaster for the Liberals who never took office again until 2010, and we know how well that went!
    Campbell-Bannerman died at in no 10, the only PM to do so ( he had resigned shortly before hand).

  16. So was Arthur James Balfour in his day, the last man in England to know everything, or so he thought.
    Sunak is a traditional low tax, small govt Tory, but he is at the fag end of a govt worn down by Boris and the leader of the madding crowd, Truss. The public sense an outfit at the end of the road, with no new ideas, and lots of skeletons in the cupboard, and what’s more the sharks in the media know it, that’s why they are circling the corpse of what was once a great whale of state. The best that most Tories are hoping for is reasonable defeat and a return to office soon after.
    He might do a John Major, but the winds of destiny don’t appear to be blowing in his direction.

  17. It obvious that politics in this country needs to get back to the centre. With just “left leaning” and “right leaning” policies. The narrative was taken hold of by hard right and hard left and lunatic policies and we all suffered.

    Labour will never get elected with hard left policies. That’s a fact.

    Left of centre is where the party should be. Extreme division and allowing the hard right to control the country has been destructive.

    Even Tory MPs see that.

    Labour members that don’t like being near centre in policies should need to accept the majority of the public will not vote for what they want. The country needs the opposition in an electable state.

    I’m not saying I agree with the way British politics works but Labour need to be slightly left of centre.

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