Labour faces pressure to suspend local council leader after hanging election banner from gravestones

23 October 2023, 19:08 | Updated: 23 October 2023, 19:26

A Labour spokesperson has confirmed the party will be taking action against Mr Rodwell (middle).
A Labour spokesperson has confirmed the party will be taking action against Mr Rodwell (middle). Picture: Social media
Jasmine Moody

By Jasmine Moody

Labour is facing calls to suspend the Barking and Dagenham Council leader after he was photographed hanging his election banner from gravestones.

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Cllr Darren Rodwell has been criticised for the "deeply shocking and offensive" action.

Photos of Mr Rodwell hanging his banner on the grounds of Barking Abbey were shared on X/Twitter over the weekend by Labour activist, Matt Lismore.

The banner reads "Darren Rodwell for Barking" and has been placed in front of a wall, hanging onto nearby gravestones.

Mr Rodwell is an MP hopeful, wanting to represent Barking at the next general election when the current MP, Dame Margaret Hodge, stands down.

Pictured: Mr Rodwell hanging up his banner, supported by gravestones.
Pictured: Mr Rodwell hanging up his banner, supported by gravestones. Picture: Social media

Mr Lismore wrote on X/Twitter: "Tone deaf from Darren Rodwell to hang his election banner from people’s gravestones in Barking Abbey.

"As a Labour member, I am shocked that he and his team could have thought that this was acceptable.

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"Time and again he has shown us that he has no respect for the living residents in the borough, but to show no respect for the dead is a new low.”

Sam Holland, the Conservative candidate for Dagenham and Rainham, has written to Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer, demanding Mr Rodwell's suspension from the party and for an investigation to be launched.

He wrote: "It is deeply shocking and offensive to so many in Barking & Dagenham that the Labour leader of the council and parliamentary candidate for Barking would deem it appropriate to trample graves and attach Labour campaign material to memorials of the deceased.

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. Picture: Social media

"This belies a shocking lack of judgement and character in pursuit of political office. It may also constitute a criminal offence.

"I urge you as Leader of the Labour Party to suspend Darren Rodwell from the Labour Party and conduct an investigation to determine the nature of this activity and whether indeed any Labour member has broken the law in pursuit of a staged campaign photo opportunity."

Over the weekend, the Labour council leader re-shared four posts, picturing him and his team standing in front of the banner.

Mr Rodwell has not made a comment but a Labour spokesperson confirmed the party would be taking action.

One of the images shared by Mr Rodwell (middle) on his X/Twitter page.
One of the images shared by Mr Rodwell (middle) on his X/Twitter page. Picture: Social media

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