A long-time official of the local Labour Party has condemned them for selecting and promoting a councillor with links to the Conservative Party.
Adrian Dennis is the Croydon alderman who reported his concerns over Labour councillor Matthew Kyeremeh’s political links with Ghana’s New Patriotic Party, which is affiliated with the Conservative Party in Britain. Today, Dennis told Inside Croydon: “My surprise is that knowing the allegations against him, and the concerns within his own ward, he was given so many positions of authority within the Labour group.”
Dennis was a councillor for Thornton Heath ward for 20 years, from 1986, until he was de-selected ahead of the 2006 Town Hall elections, when he was replaced as a Labour candidate by … Kyeremeh.
Kyeremeh was suspended as a Labour Party member last week after details of his divorce case and his treatment of his mentally ill ex-wife were published by a family court judge. He has rejected calls by his council leadership to resign his seat as a councillor as a consequence of the allegations made against him in the divorce case.
Today, Dennis confirmed that Labour officials had known of Kyeremeh’s court case for at least three years.
He said, “I have been aware of the court case since 2013, as has a few others in the Labour Party. The information started to emerge at the same time that information was brought to our attention that Matthew had been the UK national secretary of the NPP, the leading right of centre political party in Ghana affiliated to the same political group as the Tories and US Republicans, and several less democratic organisations.
“At the time we were concerned that while he was the national secretary of NPP UK, they congratulated Cameron on winning the 2010 General Election and stated that they shared the Tories’ ‘Conservative Values’, and they even attended the Tory Party Conference.
“We sought answers from Matthew but we unable to do so before the deadline for identifying our 2014 council candidates, so Matthew stayed on the list of candidates.
“As what we knew of his private life was a matter before the courts, and mainly in respect for his former wife, we did not raise our concerns about his behaviour to her or discuss the matter. It has largely been due to respect for his former wife’s privacy that there as been silence on the matter.
“Matthew’s behaviour in court has apparently provoked the unusual statement by the judge and issued by his wife’s solicitors. His position as an elected councillor holding public office means he has additional responsibilities for his behaviour that should be open to scrutiny. My surprise is that knowing the allegations against him, and the concerns within his own ward, he given so many positions of authority within the Labour group.”
Meanwhile, one of Kyeremeh’s Thornton Heath councillor colleagues, Karen Jewitt, told Inside Croydon: “I am sorry for his wife and daughter. I am sorry that they have suffered as they have at the hands of someone who is supposed to be a leader in the community and who is supposed to be helping people – including his own family.”
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