Labour councillor on Newham council has joined the Green Party

Cllr Areeq Chowdhury, who has represented Canning Town North ward since May 2022, has left Labour to join the Green Party.

Cllr Chowdhury said his decision to leave Labour for the Green Party is “due to three key reasons – Palestine, anti-racism, and integrity”.

Cllr Chowdhury said: “I believe strongly in the need to oppose the collective punishment of civilians in Gaza. Labour’s eventual support for a ceasefire was very belated and after more than 10,000 Palestinian children had been killed. I was disappointed in the defence of the LBC comments on cutting off power and water in Gaza.”

Cllr Chowdhury said that tackling racism is one of his “primary motivations for being involved in politics” and that he “no longer feels Labour is a home for anti-racism”

“I believe Labour needs to rebuild its credibility on anti-racism. There are numerous examples of where I feel the Party has leant into racism, most recently with the comments about ‘sending back’ migrants to Bangladesh. This language is reminiscent of the National Front and is not in line with my pro-migration views.”

Cllr Chowdhury added “As a strong advocate of democracy, I am dismayed at the continued disintegration of trust in politics. I believe this is, in part, due to insincerity, false promises, and broken pledges. An important part of democracy is being clear about our principles and staying true to them.”

Cllr Chowdhury said his decision “has not been taken lightly” but that he is now “looking forward to contributing to the Green Party, who I consider to be more aligned with my political beliefs. They are pro-Palestine, pro-immigration, and pro-democracy. They are also focused on the most pressing issues of our time: climate change and climate justice.”

When Cllr Chowdhury formally joins the Green Group later this month, the Group will grow to three councillors, becoming the joint largest opposition group on the council, and is the Green Party’s 20th councillor across London.

Cllr Nate Higgins, leader of the Newham Green Group, said: “I’ve worked closely with Areeq on council committees and have seen his great work representing residents in his ward at Full Council. We know Areeq is a compassionate councillor who really cares for the people he represents and the issues he campaigns on. I’m so delighted he has joined the Green Party and I’m looking forward to welcoming him to the Green Group at Newham Council.”

Cllr Higgins added “I know this won’t have been an easy decision for Areeq, but his residents now have a representative who is free to represent them on the issues that clearly matter. Labour’s culture of silencing and controlling their elected members is toxic and deprives residents of actual representation. Labour has let down communities up and down the country and particularly in Newham, and I know many like Areeq will be looking at the Green Party in a fresh light.”

Cllr Higgins invited other Labour councillors to join the Greens: “I know there are many decent, hard working and caring councillors who are similarly dismayed at the state of the Labour Party. From Palestine to climate, from austerity to democracy – the Green Party are standing up for those who need it most, where Labour are not. I know they would feel far more at home in the Green Party. We are growing fast, and the Green Party provides a progressive, honest alternative and a chance to represent residents with integrity. Our door is always open.”


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