Jason Fojtik, who has served as town and district councillor for the Clopton Ward for the past four years, has resigned from the Labour Party. He issued the following statement on his Facebook page.
“It is with deep regret that I am resigning from the Labour Party.
I joined the Labour Party in 2010 because the Labour Government had transformed the lives of families in my community over the previous 13 years by improving public services and offering greater opportunities.
In 2015, I was proud to be elected as Town and District Councillor for Clopton Ward in Stratford Upon Avon, the first Labour win in the town since 1974. This is the place I grew up and live in. I have worked hard over the last four years to address the many challenges that face the local community and am always available to help my constituents.
I would like to continue to serve my community on the Town and District Councils but after careful consideration have concluded that I can no longer do that under the current Labour leadership. The Labour Party today is no longer the Party I joined, following the election of Jeremy Corbyn it has become a hostile environment for anyone questioning Leadership policy. I, and many other long-term members, who have served as officers and councillors, have been subjected to abuse and bullying, made to feel that we are no longer welcome in the Party. I have stood up to this and am grateful to many friends and colleagues who have provided support but there comes a point when enough is enough.
I am resigning for two main reasons.
Firstly, racism, in the form of antisemitism, in the Labour Party has appalled me. I tabled a motion at full council meeting for adoption of the internationally recognised definition of antisemitism as policy, I won support from cross party. For months the Labour Party failed to act before finally being shamed into accepting the definition, but little has changed and I have come to the conclusion that a Party that has always been proud of its anti-racism, has become institutionally antisemitic under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Ignoring this deplorable behaviour by our supporters is tantamount to tacit endorsement.
Secondly, I am and always have been a passionate supporter of the European Union. The Labour Party I joined was an internationalist party that valued the contribution of all including EU citizens. Instead of wholly backing the Remain cause the Labour leadership has obfuscated and distorted on this issue leaving millions in despair. The Labour leader failed to attend the largest demonstration in a generation in London to call for a Peoples Vote and has tolerated Shadow Ministers who have defied whips and Party policy to oppose it.
Brexit will do enormous damage to the economy of Stratford Upon Avon, particularly the manufacturing, services and tourism that local jobs depend on. I cannot remain a member of a Party which supports and enables Brexit which came about purely as a split within the Conservative party. Any form of Brexit will harm opportunities for young people, jobs, working conditions and our NHS. The people Labour represents – those we give voice to – are the ones who will be harmed most. It is an act of utter betrayal and dogmatic ignorance by Jeremy Corbyn to support, and not oppose vigorously, this act of catastrophic national self-harm.
I came into politics to change society for the better, to win the opportunity to serve. My values have not changed. I did not come into politics to spend my time and energy fighting people in the same party. Pointless squabbles which detract from the real issues at hand, fighting austerity and collectively working to overthrow the Tories.
The racism, factionalism, bullying and intolerance of any dissenting view is intolerable. It has ceased to be the broad church I joined. I despair at what the Party I have devoted a decade of my life has become, and the far left doctrines and dogmas that now constrict it.
I respect all those true and valued friends and colleagues who will stay as members, but it is with enormous sadness that I must resign my membership of the party.
I feel I still have much to offer to public service and to the residents of Clopton and to the town that I am very proud of and therefore will be standing in the forthcoming Council elections as an Independent Candidate.
My values and aspirations have not changed in that time and nor will they but now, like others, I must find another means by which to realise those values, deliver better lives for the people in my community who need the best of representation and help give others the opportunity to serve.”