Great Yarmouth councillor facing expulsion from Labour Party

A STALWART Great Yarmouth councillor and former mayor faces expulsion from the Labour Party after unwittingly committing a “cardinal sin” against it.

Mike Taylor who has served his Central and Northgate ward for over 30 years was reported to regional headquarters in Harlow for signing nomination papers for a rival Independent candidate – his wife Brenda Taylor.

Mrs Taylor was seeking re-election as an Independent in the Nelson ward she had held for four years, after being sensationally deselected by Labour.

She required 10 signatures to support her nomination from people living within the ward – securing one from her husband.

Mr Taylor was informed by local party agent Trevor Wainwright on Tuesday – days before the borough went to the polls yesterday – that he faced expulsion from the Labour Party following a complaint which was sent on to regional headquarters but likely to be dealt with at the highest national level.

This week he admitted his foolishness, but believed he was adding his signature as an ordinary resident living in the ward in accordance with election rules.

His action does not affect Mrs Taylor’s legitimacy as a candidate but has upset some within the Labour camp who take a dim view of his endorsement of a rival candidate, even if it was his wife.

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Mr Taylor, who was also a county councillor for nine years, said: “Trevor Wainwright came and saw me in my home and told me that as I had signed Brenda’s nomination form under Labour Party rules that is an automatic expulsion. If I had known I would not have been so stupid.

“I was stunned. I have never known this happen to anyone else before. I live in the ward and did not suspect a conflict of interest.”

Since his seat is not due to be contested until next year the 73-year-old former publican, who has fought 16 elections, said he intended to stay on as an Independent Labour councillor, adding: “I have not altered one bit. I am the same person. I will have the same access to officers but won’t be able to go to any meetings. It won’t stop me representing the people in my ward.

“What is heartbreaking is that there are some smashing people in the Yarmouth Labour Party. Its a bit like a divorce.”

Mr Taylor was not intending to seek re-election next year.

He currently sits on the planning and scrutiny committees and takes an active interest in transport issues. He is most proud of his role in the restoration of the Fisherman’s’Hospital and the re-invention of the old curing works as the Time and Tide Museum.

Mr Wainwright said the complaint was being acted on but that Mr Taylor was still a member of the party.

“Mike is quite clearly saying he did not realise, but he should have taken advice. By doing what he did it is serious but I believe there is a process whereby he can give his side of the case. It is very unfortunate this situation has occurred with his wife and that the party has been put in this position.

“It is a cardinal sin and although it sounds quite trivial why would you sign nomination forms for someone standing against Labour –although in this case it was his wife? ”

Mr Taylor has held his seat continuously since 1979 and in 2004 was the first Labour mayor.