Camden councillor quits Labour Party over ‘misleading’ library campaign

Cllr Angela Pober.

Cllr Angela Pober. - Credit: Archant

A Camden councillor has quit the Labour Party over a campaign to save West Hampstead Library, claiming the public was misled.

Cllr Angela Pober, who represents West Hampstead ward, says she has known for weeks that the library in West End Lane is not under threat from closure due to council cuts.

But she claims a campaign to save it was allowed to continue, in order to make Labour councillors look good.

In a scathing open letter she wrote: “This past weekend I took a very difficult personal and political decision.

“Having been a member of the Labour Party for over a decade and as a newly elected councillor I felt that the values and principles I shared with my party had been irrevocably violated by tactics being used in local campaigning.”

Cllr Pober continued: “I have been party to knowledge for weeks that the library was not going to be closed.

“Yet the campaign continued, it was one I had been told we, the Labour councillors, would be given credit for ‘winning’ and it was make us ‘look good’.

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“I alone felt that this was manipulating the residents for political gain and I could no longer reconcile this with my principles of working for the good of the people.”

Describing reaction to her resignation, Cllr Pober wrote: “I have been told that this was such a small issue I should have made more effort in speaking to party colleagues to be persuaded not to resign, I have been told that I am not political enough to be a politician, and I have had a dystopian picture painted for me depicting the loneliness of being outside of the Labour Party in Camden Council where I would not have the Party friends I have now and I have been asked to reconsider.

“So is there really such little benefit to being an independent councillor for the residents of West Hampstead in Camden Council?”

Cllr Pober now represents West Hampstead as an independent councillor.

The leader of Camden Council, Coucillor Sarah Hayward, has been approached for a comment.