Category Archives: Uncategorized

Statement on Israel’s Planned Annexation of Significant Parts of the Occupied Palestinian West Bank

RBKC Labour Opposition Group

The RBKC Labour Opposition Group supports the recent Statement from the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres to the Security Council where he called on Israel to scrap plans to annex about 30% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, a move that could occur as early as 1st July.

Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that he believes “We are at a watershed moment” and that “Israel’s threat to annex parts of the occupied West Bank has alarmed Palestinians, many Israeli’s and the broader international community”. He said that, “If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, grievously harm the prospect of a two-State solution and undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations. I call on the Israeli Government to abandon its annexation plans”.

The Secretary General said that, “The goal is achieving the vision of two states – Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable Palestinian State – living side by side in peace and security within secure and recognised borders, based on the pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states”

The Secretary General’s Statement was affirmed by nearly 50 United Nations Human Rights Experts who said in a joint statement that, “The annexation of occupied territory is a serious violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Geneva Convention, and contrary to the fundamental rule affirmed many times by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly that the acquisition of territory by war or force is inadmissible”.

The RBKC Labour Opposition Group joins the United Nations in calling on the Israeli Government to abandon plans to annex land in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Cllr Pat Mason, Leader of the RBKC Labour Opposition Group, 1st July 2020

RBKC Labour Opposition Group Release, 29th June 2020

NORTH KENSINGTON COUNCILLORS​ SUPPORT MET POLICE IN BATTLE TO PROTECT RESIDENTS FROM NOISY​AND UNSAFE STREET PARTIES WHILE GOVERNMENT CUTS TO THE MAYOR’S AND POLICE BUDGETS PUT US ALL AT RISK. 

The ongoing daily illegal street gatherings across London and North Kensington – often accompanied by loud sound systems – has vividly demonstrated the severe damage years of government cuts has done to the Police’s ability to attend and close down all such events often numbering hundreds of people, many inebriated.

Between 2015, when Boris Johnson was London mayor, and 2021, the Metropolitan Police budget will have suffered a £1.4 billion cut from Coalition and Conservative governments, and a further £110million reduction due to Covid-19 costs ministers are refusing to refund that will hit London and K&C officer numbers. Between 2010 and 2019 UK police funding fell by 30% reducing police numbers by 23,000.

In the past weeks multiple illegal streets events have taken place on North Kensington’s streets and estates until 2am and later, often concentrated along the Portobello and Golborne Road Market area. They breach social distancing rules and loud music booms out for many hours disrupting the lives of residents and their families​and attracting drug dealing and serious violence. The majority of crowds, sometimes hundreds strong, do not live here and leave behind mountains of rubbish ​and are working against the recovery of our markets and local economy.

North Kensington, Colville Ward Cllr Monica Press said:

“On the Portobello Road we’ve not been able to sleep for three nights.  The local and London Met Police are doing the best they can but given the cuts and their limited resources plus the number of incident across North Kensington on Friday night, they weren’t able to provide the level of policing residents required in Portobello Road and eventually after midnight the Territorial Support Group were brought in to disperse the 300 strong crowd.  Local pubs and supermarkets must take some responsibility as we witnessed no attempt to reduce alcohol sales, close early or disperse the crowds from the few premises open”

RBKC Labour Group Leader Cllr Pat Mason said:                                                                                     

“Shame on the government for playing political football with Sadiq’s Policing, Fire and public transport budgets during the Codiv-19 pandemic. Starving the GLA of cash is blatant interference in the mayoral election and hurts the most vulnerable people in North Kensington and the Borough. If the PM can afford a £1.3 trillion banks bail out in recent weeks then he can afford to properly fund the police when they are working to protect our communities”.

For further information contact: Cllr Pat Mason: 07496 538 101

Food Delivery & Donations

Councillors Sina Lari and Pat Mason at the Golborne Factory

Our Councillors have been working day and night to support residents throughout this crisis. The Golborne Factory People’s Kitchen is a new initiative to deliver fresh cooked food to vulnerable local residents on Sunday evening; Pat Mason and Sina Lari delivered to Hazlewood Tower tonight. Please donate to support the project here: https://www.goldfingerfactory.com/peoples-kitchen-to-your-door

The Kensington & Chelsea Food Bank at the Methodist Church is seeing a huge increase in demand and so would still appreciate your kind donations. You can continue to do this through the usual Kensington CLP account and the funds will then be forwarded. If you have online banking please send your donation to Kensington Labour Campaigns Acc No: 13495351 Sort Code: 23-05-80 and mark your donation “Food Bank”.

Please Support Our Local Foodbanks

Our local foodbanks are seeing a huge increase in demand at the moment. If you can please consider donating even if it is just one can, that one can will make a huge difference.

We have been sent the following list from Notting Hill Foodbank of the items they require as well as details of how you can donate.

If you are struggling and need help please get in touch with your ward councillors who will be able to assist you.

‘I feel both furious and vindicated’: the Leaked Report Explains Why Labour Didn’t Help Me After Grenfell

Article by Emma Dent Coad which originally appeared on NovaraMedia.

On Saturday night, a report into Labour’s handling of antisemitism complaints was leaked, landing with a massive leaden thump in the middle of our Easter pause.

Reading the report as a former Labour MP for Kensington, I felt both angry and strangely vindicated by its contents; angry that a powerful cabal within the party had reduced themselves to name-calling and abusing the people they were supposed to be working for. Our colleagues deserve respect, whether we agree politically or not. How dare these senior Labour figures live off membership fees – which many people struggle to pay – yet treat elected politicians with utter contempt?

But also vindicated to learn that things I long suspected might be happening really were. The actions of a faction within the party to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and all those who supported him, have now been revealed to party members and the wider public.

[a screenshot from the report]

What better time than during lockdown to dive into the reports 851 pages – or rather, in my case, to use the find function to see what was said about me, and some of the hardworking and loyal Labour party members I have been proud to call my friends.

While I wouldn’t especially mind being called a ‘grade 1 tool’ by my political opposition, it is sickening to see it said by the director, at the time, of political services in my own party.

But perhaps what is even more concerning – if that is possible – than the vile sexist and racist comments detailed in the report, is the actions that accompanied them.

According to the report, senior party officials withheld information that could have helped us win the 2017 election, and even deliberately sabotaged Corbyn’s attempts to deal expeditiously with complaints, including those regarding the serious issue of antisemitism.

For this alone those involved should be censured and suspended from the party prior to a full investigation.

Emma Dent Coad with Jeremy Corbyn. (Twitter)

In the 2017 election, I thought Labour HQ failed to provide help with my campaign because the party thought it so unlikely I would win. But even in the last three weeks, when it was clear I had a chance, we still had no assistance from the party at all.

As we were preparing for the fourth recount on Friday 9 June 2017, the leader’s office (LOTO) sent us its lawyer to keep an eye on proceedings, and guide us through the process. We had councillors from various other constituencies and an MP as count agents. But nothing from the party itself.

Four days later, when the atrocity of the Grenfell Tower fire ripped through my neighbourhood, I was finally sent help from McNicol’s office. However it quickly became clear that this was not the help I had requested; I needed assistance with my casework team, who were struggling to help all those impacted by the fire, but instead the general secretary sent someone to police me. 

I had been going out every day, mostly on my own or with a couple of colleagues. There was no feeling at all at that time that I was in any kind of physical danger. However, on day three while I was addressing a crowd of local people, including a group of very distressed young men, my ‘helper’ attempted to drag me away, saying “Ian McNicol says you must get out of here”.

Out of here? I lived there – and still do. These were my neighbours. 

As a result of that incident, I was forced to dispense of the ‘help’ I’d been given, and find my own back-up instead from local people I knew and could trust. 

Reading about the contempt in which I was held, it now becomes clear why I was refused any kind of additional help for my casework team.

Memorials tied to railings following the Grenfell fire.

During the summer of 2017, in the aftermath of the fire, I was blessed with an amazing team of volunteers, who took phone calls and listened to the very distressed family members and friends of those who had gone missing, or who had survived the fire and were traumatised.

But when my volunteers dispersed back to work or university, I was left with a gaping hole that could not be filled. We needed more help. But it was refused by the Labour party at every hurdle. 

The possibility that additional support was withheld because the general secretary of my party didn’t happen to support my nuanced political views is truly tragic. It still haunts me that we could have averted some of the mental health crises and suicides, if only we’d had more help.

Being out of parliament for now, I have the benefit of distance and can be more philosophical. The notion of having to work alongside some of these pernicious and vindictive officers, who are supposed to serve MPs and not to rule over them, is simply gutting. 

I hope now that Labour’s new leader, Keir Starmer, will show that his background in law has equipped him to launch a fair and just response.

I have loyally served my party through thick and thin over 35 years, campaigning for every leader despite differences in policy, because a Labour government always has to be better than the alternative.

I am truly ashamed of what has emerged from the underbelly of my party, but I will be telling our membership – which increased fivefold under the Corbyn leadership – to stay their ground and fight to get our party back on track.

I’m not going anywhere. 

Emma Dent Coad is a Labour councillor and was the MP for Kensington from 2017 to 2019.

Published 14th April 2020

You can follow Emma on Twitter @emmadentcoad