An Oxford councillor has resigned the Labour Party whip, less than a week after his ‘anti-semitic’ and ‘homophobic’ Facebook posts were revealed by Cherwell.
Ben Lloyd-Shogbesan was re-elected as Labour councillor for Lye Valley earlier this month, having held the seat for the party since 2010.
However, he has since come under widespread fire after Cherwell revealed he had compared Israel to Nazi Germany, praised former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and alluded to same sex marriages as a “perversion” on his Facebook page.
Now, at the first city council meeting since the election, chief executive Gordon Mitchell has announced that Mr Lloyd-Shogbesan has resigned the Labour whip ahead of a standards committee hearing set to determine whether he has broken council rules.
This means he will remain a local councillor but will no longer be officially affiliated with Oxford Labour.
Leaders of all other major parties in Oxford have called on Lloyd-Shogbesan to resign or be sacked. Liberal Democrat group leader, Andrew Gant, said: “Council leader Susan Brown has described his comments as “disappointing”. This is nowhere near good enough.
“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.”
We're calling on @CllrSusanBrown and @Oxford_Labour to suspend Cllr Ben Lloyd-Shogbesan following his disgusting, anti-Semitic comments. They can do so much better than calling his actions 'disappointing'. https://t.co/EhqRPAbt8g
— Oxfordshire Lib Dems (@LibDemsOxon) May 11, 2018
In an email sent on Monday night to his fellow city councillors, Lloyd-Shogbesan said: “I am sure that you are all aware of recent publications in Cherwell news about my reposting of images and comments from other organisations and individuals on my Facebook account.
“I regret the repostings and would like to offer my profound apologies to colleagues on Oxford City Council for any hurt or discomfort they may have endured.
“I have deleted my Facebook account and the offensive posts. I am also making overtures to the Synagogue and the Jewish community and other groups and communities affected in order to engage in positive and meaningful discussions about concerns and how best to redress the situation going forward
“Lastly, I have referred myself to the Oxford City Council Standards Committee for them to investigate and I will cooperate fully with subsequent developments.
“I am not and have never been antisemitic or racist or homophobic in all my life. I have worked hard to challenge injustice and discrimination and promote equality and diversity at all times and would continue to do so.”
The Labour Party confirmed on Monday that a complaint has been made and it is investigating. Labour MP for Oxford East, Anneliese Dodds, is yet to comment on Lloyd-Shogbessan’s comments.