A Wokingham Borough Councillor has left the Labour party over disagreements with the direction of the national party.

Councillor Carl Doran, a representative for the Bulmershe & Whitegates ward, handed in his resignation from the party this week.

Explaining the reason why he has left, Cllr Doran accused the national party of being anti democratic and expressed disagreements with the party leadership.

Speaking on his motives to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Cllr Doran said: “It was basically the national party’s attitude to democracy within the party.

“I have not been happy for quite a while. They’re starting to expel people for being in groups which they don’t seem to like.

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“Members should have the right to hear cases against them in the party, and not be blanket banned. There’s an attack on democracy and I can’t have that.

“Sir Keir Starmer lied to become leader, none of his pledges have been followed. Some people say ‘a lot of people lie to get elected’ and I’m not happy about that either.

“Him and his team seem to want to create a membership who supports their factional way of doing things. Even Tony Blair didn’t do that. Jeremy Corbyn didn’t do it either.”

His resignation means that he will become an independent councillor on Wokingham Borough Council, although he has good relations with Labour councillors Shirley Boyt (Bulmershe & Whitegates) and Rachel Burgess (Norreys).

Cllr Doran said: “I’m not seeing the same issues within the local party. No one locally has been a problem whatsoever. But you’re either a member or you’re not.

“I completely support them. I will still work with them. I have spoken to Shirley already and we will carry on working together, but in terms of the party I can’t stay half in half out. It would be nice if I could do that but it’s not feasible.”

He said he would not join any other party. Cllr Doran explained: “I’ll stay out my term, but I don’t intend to stand in May, until then I will carry on doing what I can.”

Cllr Doran was elected in 2018, with the next elections scheduled in May 2022.

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The ‘straw which broke the camels back’ for Cllr Doran was the party’s decision to expel all members who are also members of four far-left organisations which were until now associated with Labour.

The groups involved in the purge are called Resist, Labour Against the Witch Hunt, Labour in Exile Network and Socialist Appeal, which is an openly Marxist and anticapitalist youth organisation.

In his resignation letter addressed to current party leader Sir Keir Starmer, Cllr Doran revealed he joined the Labour party in 2015 the day that Sir Starmer’s predecessor Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader. 

Bracknell News: Councillor Carl Doran, representative for Bulmershe & Whitegates on Wokingham Borough Council. Credit: Carl DoranCouncillor Carl Doran, representative for Bulmershe & Whitegates on Wokingham Borough Council. Credit: Carl Doran

A former RAF comms and radar technician, Cllr Doran used his resignation to savage Sir Starmer’s leadership, accusing him of ‘collaborating’ with the Conservatives.

The letter states:  “There’s a word for those determined to fight a battle on an enemy’s carefully chosen battlefield, while restricting themselves to the same weapons and tactics. And that word is: LOSERS.

“You have failed to oppose the worst and most right wing Government in generations, during a botched pandemic response that has killed 150,000 of our fellow citizens, including one of my own relatives.

“In my previous career, this would be considered “desertion in the face of the enemy” and losing a little popular support would be the least of your worries right now.

“Despite this collaboration, which I assume is meant to attract Tory/Labour switchers, the party is not gaining support in that area and still heavily trails the Tories in the polls.

“Your personal poll ratings are even worse. And amongst Labour voters, amazingly, even worse than Corbyn…”

Bracknell News: Sir Keir Starmer, current leader of the Labour Party. Credit: Peter Morrison/PA WireSir Keir Starmer, current leader of the Labour Party. Credit: Peter Morrison/PA Wire

He went on to slam the national party for its recent election record. Labour was defeated by the Conservatives in the Hartlepool by-election, lost its deposit in the Chesham and Amersham by-election, and ‘narrowly retained’ the Batley and Spen seat.

Speaking of the Batley and Spen by-election, Cllr Doran wrote: “I personally thought it was a huge sign of desperation that Labour Councillors such as me were being asked to campaign there, despite living 200 miles away.”

His resignation means there are now only two Labour councillors on Wokingham Borough Council.  In full, the council is now made up of 31 Conservatives, 18 Liberal Democrats, two Labour and three Independents.

Cllr Doran serves on the planning committee, the overview and scrutiny committee, the health overview and scrutiny committee and the commons registration committee.