Labour expels councillor for campaigning for opposition Senedd candidate
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
A councillor has been expelled from the Labour Party after being accused of campaigning for an opposition candidate at this year’s Senedd election.
Community councillor Zoe Davies-Hobbs, who sits on Risca East Community Council, received a letter from the Labour Party expelling her for campaigning for Independent councillor Kevin Etheridge.
Cllr Davies-Hobbs, 36, has been a member of the Labour Party since she was 18 years old. She said: “I will never vote Labour again, nor will I fund them ever again.”
Ms Davies-Hobbs described the Labour Party’s actions against her as “calculated and manipulating”. She raised concerns over why she had not received any contact locally from Islwyn Labour Party.
The letter from the Labour Party included photos of Cllr Davies-Hobbs wearing the Independent Group rosette and screenshots of her praising Cllr Etheridge on social media.
At the time the photos were taken, Cllr Etheridge was campaigning to become the Senedd Member for Islwyn, against Labour candidate Rhianon Passmore – who managed to retain her seat for a second term at this year’s Senedd election.
The suspension from the Labour Party will last for five years.
Cllr Davies-Hobbs has said she will not be appealing against her expulsion.
She also said her family had since cancelled their membership with the Labour Party.
In an email to Cllr Davies-Hobbs, the Labour Party said: “When you joined the Labour Party you agreed not to support any candidate standing in opposition to an official Labour Party candidate (Chapter 2, Clause I.4.B of the Labour Party Rule Book) and that doing so would render you ineligible to be or remain a Labour Party member.”
Cllr Etheridge, leader of the Independent Group at Caerphilly County Borough Council said: “Ms Davies-Hobbs is more than welcome to join the Independents and help all residents regardless of what political party they support.”
The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.