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Lib Dems question mayoral consort role for head of Labour’s complaints unit

Thomas Gardiner's supporters say he is victim of 'absurd' allegations following Panorama investigation

18 July, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Thomas Gardiner was appointed as the mayoral consort in May

CAMDEN’S Labour group is split over whether there should be an investigation into how allegations of anti-semitism have been handled.

Tensions were ramped up when the BBC’s Panorama programme named Labour councillor Thomas Gardiner as being involved in the disciplinary process and questioned how he dealt with a member who posted online an image of an alien with an Israeli flag suffocating the Statue of Liberty.

It has been claimed Cllr Gardiner downgraded the case, but the Labour Party refutes all accusations against him, and it has been suggested he had ultimately made the call to suspend the member involved. But the Liberal Democrats on the council have now questioned whether Cllr Gardiner should be serving in the public role as a consort to the mayor, his wife Maryam Eslamdoust.

In a letter to the New Journal, the five most prominent local Lib Dems questioned why council leader Georgia Gould had not commented on Cllr Gardiner’s role in the party’s disciplinary unit.

New MEP Luisa Porritt is among Lib Dems who have suggested it is inappropriate that Cllr Gardiner ‘represents Camden citizens’

“Camden Liberal Democrats have asked consistently whether it is right that he represent Camden citizens while these allegations remain,” the letter said.

A Labour Party HQ source remained adamant Cllr Gardiner had been the subject of “malicious and untrue allegations” which had already been addressed. It has been claimed in some quarters, behind the scenes, that Cllr Gardiner took an active role in the suspension of MP Chris Williamson and the expulsion of Jackie Walker.

Council leader Georgia Gould says she has written to the Labour Party with local concerns

Cllr Gould said last night (Wednesday) “concerns had been raised with me locally”, adding: “I have written to the party for an independent investigation into the serious allegations made by whistleblowers so I can reassure our community that due process is being followed and that these allegations are being taken seriously.”

Supporters within the local group, however, say he has been the subject of “absurd” allegations.

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