Wrath of Khan

10 Mar

Cllr Obaid Khan, who was handed a two year suspension from the Labour party last week, says that he has been the victim of a political witch hunt.

In a statement he says

“I believe that I am being victimised for having political differences with the local Labour leadership in Newham, as well as asking for processes to be democratic and transparent in the local Labour party.

“I continue to deny the charges and I am taking advise on what further action is available to me. I do not believe that I have been subject to a fair process by any reasonable standard of natural justice in the way the Labour Party has pursued the complaints made against me.”

Cllr Khan claims that although he was initially suspended in December 2015 on the basis of his “behaviour towards other party members at party meetings and in email correspondence” he did not receive specific details of the allegations until January this year – 14 months later.

He further says that the investigation report contained material that was irrelevant to the charges and “gratuitously negative commentary by the party investigators themselves” which was prejudicial to his defense.

Two of the three complainants did not attend the hearing and were therefore unable to be questioned by Cllr Khan or his representatives.

Mr Michael Sullivan, a local Labour Party member who helped Cllr Khan prepare his defence and who attended the hearing, said

“I have a lot of experience of representing trade union members at employer’s discipline hearings and of representing people at Employment and Welfare Benefit Tribunals. I also have a Masters Degree in Law that I undertook when I was a trade union officer responsible for members’ legal cases.

“I can say that the way the case against Councillor Khan was prepared and conducted including the material unrelated to the charges against him that was permitted to be included in the case papers would not be permitted in an employer’s discipline hearings or any Tribunal; and certainly not in any formal court.

“I believe that the conduct of this case reflects badly on the Labour Party, which has fairness and justice among it’s core values”.

Whatever the nature of the charges against Cllr Khan – which have not been made public – the conduct of the Labour party appears to be highly questionable.

And local members might ask why this case has been dealt with ahead of that of Cllr Ahmed Noor, who was the subject of a withering report to the council’s standards board. Cllr Noor’s party membership has been in ‘administrative suspension’ for close to two years.

They might further ask why Cllr Khan’s behaviour warranted his expulsion from the party when the mayor and his chum Cllr Ian Corbett remain members, despite being found guilty of breaching the council’s code of conduct due to their aggressive and bullying behaviour.

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