Before 2015, Jeremy Corbyn’s principled socialist opposition to austerity meant he was at odds with the vast majority of elected Labour MPs (and local councillors) who supported the bizarre idea of austerity-lite. This is why many people within the Labour movement continue to support the very democratic idea of encouraging the mandatory reselection for all Labour’s elected leaders. Certainly it wouldn’t hurt Labour to have more councillors and MPs who have a longstanding track record of fighting for working-class interests.
Now, although there is no direct correlation between how many houses a politician might own and their commitment to opposing austerity, here in Leicester a problematic trend does nevertheless exist between these two factors. In fact six local Labour councillors who own multiple homes not only carry through Tory cuts in Leicester (like cuts to homelessness services) but have actively supported campaigns to oppose Jeremy Corbyn leadership of the Labour Party?! These baleful Labour councillors are:
- Hemant Bhatia — owns two homes and works for Barclays Bank and is also the company secretary for a small start-up company called ilikeinfo Ltd. During the initial leadership campaign he publicly backed Liz Kendall against Corbyn.
- Harshad Bhavsar — owns three homes and is the managing director for YUG Chemicals. During the initial leadership campaign he publicly backed Liz Kendall against Corbyn.
- George Cole — owns nineteen homes and works a senior lecturer for De Montfort University, and as a teacher for Leicester City Council. During the initial leadership campaign he publicly backed Liz Kendall against Corbyn.
- Piara Singh Clair — owns two homes and has retired from paid employment. Last year he backed Owen Smith against Corbyn in the failed Blairite-led coup.
- Vi Dempster — owns four homes and has retired from paid employment. During the initial leadership campaign she publicly backed Liz Kendall against Corbyn.
- Deepak Bajaj has a “financial interest” in five homes and works as a printer/trainer for Reflex Group. Although he initially gave his public support to Corbyn, he later went to rally here in Leicester to promote Owen Smith as a replacement for Corbyn.
We might also note that three additional Labour councillors are multiple home-owners too, and have not publicly opposed Jeremy Corbyn during leadership elections — these are Mansukhlal Chohan (who owns six homes and has retired from paid employment), Deborah Sangster (who owns three homes and works as a foster carer) and Susan Waddington (who owns three homes and is not in paid employment). But like most Labour councillors neither of these three councillors have chosen to publicly show any support for Corbyn during (or between) Labour leadership contests, a position of quietude they share with Leicester’s only Tory councillor, Ross Grant, who likewise is an owner of multiple homes (two).