Jane Basham leaves Labour after Sir Keir Starmer’s comments on Black Lives Matter
PUBLISHED: 16:30 06 July 2020
One of the best-known Labour figures in Suffolk has resigned from the party in the aftermath of comments made by leader Sir Keir Starmer about the Black Lives Matter protests.
Jane Basham stood as Labour candidate in the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner election in 2012, and then stood as parliamentary candidate in South Suffolk in 2015 – coming second to Conservative James Cartlidge. She is a former chief executive of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality and now works for the Norfolk Community Law Service.
A strong supporter of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, Ms Basham made it clear Sir Keir was not her choice as leader after the leadership election result was announced in April.
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Last week Sir Keir described Black Lives Matter protests as a “moment” during an interview on calls by protesters to defund the police in Britain.
In a statement on her resignation, Ms Basham said: “My heart became unbearably heavy when I watched Keir Starmer taking sides between the police and the community. In just a few seconds in a BBC interview he did so much damage in his desire to provide those all important political soundbites.
“He dismissed the Black Lives Matter campaign as a mere moment when in fact it’s a movement against state sanctioned racism and oppression that has been decades in the making.
“He didn’t appear to have done his due diligence about what ‘defunding the police’ really means. It is about bringing meaningful structural change into the police service.”
Sir Keir said yesterday he meant that the Black Lives Matter protests were a “defining moment.” He has arranged for Labour Party staff to have unconscious bias training – and he will be the first to get that training.
Ipswich Labour agent John Cook said there was always a certain amount of “churn” with people joining and leaving the party – and that tended to increase after a change of leadership.
He said: “We’ve had about twice as many people joining the party than leaving it this year. It was clear at the election last year that there was not a great deal of support in Ipswich for the previous Labour leadership, and the new team led by Sir Keir Starmer is much more in touch with the voters of the town than previously. There is strong support for the new leadership among most Labour members in Ipswich.”
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