Calls for Oxford Labour Councillor to resign following ‘hateful’ posts

Ben Lloyd-Shogbesan compared Israel to Nazi Germany, praised Muammar Gaddafi, and spread a conspiracy theory that cancer does not exist

Councillor for Lye Valley ward since 2010, Ben Lloyd-Shogbesan.

Oxfordshire’s Conservative Association, Green Party, and Liberal Democrats have called for the resignation of Labour Councillor Ben Lloyd-Shogbesan, after Cherwell revealed his historic anti-semitic and homophobic posts on social media.

Oxford Labour are yet to condemn Lloyd-Shogbesan’s posts, with the City Council Leader, Councillor Susan Brown, only going as far as to call the councillor’s actions “disappointing”.

Oxford Labour have yet to confirm whether Lloyd-Shogbesan will be suspended from the party, or what disciplinary actions will be taken regarding his behaviour.

On Friday, Cherwell revealed that Lloyd-Shogbesan, Labour Councillor for Lye Valley ward, since 2010, had compared Israel to Nazi Germany; praised the actions of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi; alluded to same sex marriages as “perversion”; and spread a conspiracy theory that cancer does not exist.

In a statement he apologised for any offence caused by the articles and videos shared by him, and for his implicit endorsement of them. He stressed that he no longer holds such views.

In a letter to Councillor Brown calling for Lloyd-Shogbesan’s resignation, Oxford Conservative Association Chairman, Tim Patmore, wrote: “We are pleased to hear that you have taken immediate action concerning the ‘inappropriate’ material Councillor Lloyd-Shogbesan posted on his social media account, and that you recognise the importance for public representatives to adhere to a standard of conduct in keeping with their responsibilities.

“We also appreciate that Councillor Lloyd-Shogbesan should be given every opportunity to give an account of his actions.

“Nevertheless, the seriousness of the content posted by the Councillor casts grave doubt on his suitability to represent Oxford’s residents.

“Assuming that the reported contents of his social media posts are borne out, OCA is calling for Councillor Lloyd-Shogbesan to recognise that his position is no longer tenable, and to tender his resignation.”

Leader of the Opposition on Oxford City Council, Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Gant, said: “It is sad to see the poison that is infecting the Labour Party nationally appearing here in Oxford, along with the same feeble response from the leadership.

“It is incredible that Councillor Lloyd-Shogbesan was re-selected by the Labour Party, and that he remains a Labour Councillor since these appalling comments came out. Even activists from the Labour Against Antisemitism group have called for the councillor’s immediate suspension and eventual expulsion.

“The Liberal Democrat Group on Oxford City Council calls on Councillor Susan Brown to suspend him. Councillor Lloyd-Shogbesan should also consider his own position.”

In a statement, the Oxfordshire Green Party said: “Following revelations of the hateful (anti-gay and anti-semitic) posts on Councillor Ben Lloyd-Shogbesan’s Facebook page, Greens are calling for the immediate referral of Councillor Lloyd-Shogbesan to the Council’s Standards Committee.”

Green Councillor for St Mary’s ward, Craig Simmons, who identifies as Jewish, told Cherwell: “Personally, I think he should resign or be sacked and a by-election held. Such behaviour is totally unacceptable.

“But the correct process to follow is to refer him to the  cross-party Standards Committee where his actions can be judged, the evidence scrutinised, and the correct sanctions applied. This can include a permanent or temporary suspension.

“We also need to look at the wider issue of when the posts went public and whether those Councillors who knew about them had a duty to report them sooner. It may well be significant that the posts where made before the local elections but were only reported afterwards.”