The Seagull can confirm that councillor Bharti Gajjar, councillor for Kemptown, and councillor Chandni Mistry, councillor for Queen's Park, have been suspended from the Labour Party—and a Labour source says the blame lies directly with Labour's South Regional office.
The councillors were both newly elected in May. Councillor Gajjar was elected with 26% of the vote, alongside councillor Gary Wilkinson. Councillor Mistry was elected with 29% of the vote, alongside councillor Tristram Burden.
Brighton & Hove Labour Chief Whip, Cllr Amanda Grimshaw, said:
Pending the outcome of an investigation by the Labour Party, Cllr Gajjar and Cllr Mistry have been removed from their positions on outside bodies, committees and lead member roles until the investigation is complete.
They are also currently not permitted to attend Labour Group meetings.
As of yet, there is no confirmation as to why the councillors were suspended, or when we can expect to hear the result of the investigation. The Seagull will update this story with any developments as and when we receive them.
An anonymous Labour source said:
Labour's South Regional office are completely responsible for this mess.
For factional reasons they took over the entire candidate selection process back in 2022. This denied local party members any democratic selection process for the council candidates. It also bypassed the public scrutiny that would normally occur.
Region promised to undertake detailed background analysis on all the candidates put forward, but after repeated delays and the errors revealed here, it is clear they were incapable of this. If we see more candidates selected in this manner, it's only going to result in more problems down the line.
The success that Brighton and Hove Labour achieved [in the] 2023 local elections was achieved in spite of regional office's meddling. They are a toxic influence and clearly have no respect for hard working members and volunteers that make up the Labour party.
We have reached out to both councillors for comment.