Senior London Tory Councillor Resigns in Protest Over Gaza Ceasefire Dispute
In a shocking turn of events, Jamal Chohan, the deputy leader of Kingston Conservatives and a senior London Tory councilor, has resigned from the party, expressing vehement disagreement with its stance on the Gaza ceasefire. Chohan, who branded the party a “sinking ship,” accused it of compromising its dignity.
Chohan’s decision to step down came after he co-signed a letter, along with others, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. The letter circulated to over 19,000 elected members in every town hall in England and Wales on Sunday, was criticized as “intimidating” by some recipients. The wording implied that councilors not supporting a complete suspension of hostilities in the Israel-Hamas conflict would face public naming and shaming.
The former deputy leader revealed that his local Tory association gave him an ultimatum, demanding an apology for his “perceived threatening language” by 10 am on Tuesday. However, Chohan stood firm and refused to issue an apology.
Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) countered Chohan’s claims, asserting that he had not been a party member for three years. Despite winning his seat in the 2022 local elections as the Tory candidate and holding a senior position on the council, CCHQ insisted that Chohan’s affiliation with the party ceased in 2020.
Chohan, in response, maintained that he had been a party member until Tuesday morning and had made significant financial contributions, totaling “thousands of pounds,” over the past few years. His attempts to rejoin the party on Monday afternoon were reportedly met with a lack of records regarding donations.
In his resignation letter, Chohan expressed concerns about the party’s direction, stating, “The party has adopted policies which are extending to the far right.” He pointed to issues such as aggressive anti-immigration rhetoric, suppression of freedom of speech, and plans to rewrite rights laws in pursuit of a deportation strategy lacking compassion.
He accused the party of resembling a “sinking ship,” losing its dignity in the process, drawing attention to the plight of refugees left in a similar predicament. Chohan also claimed to be on the Conservative MP candidates list, a statement strenuously denied by CCHQ.
The spokesperson for CCHQ stated, “Mr. Chohan has not been a member since 2020. He was told he was no longer a member of the Group at 5 pm [on Monday] and that he would need to apologize for his perceived threatening language if he wanted to be readmitted.”
Chohan, anticipating attempts to discredit him, said, “In this day and age of character assassinations, I can anticipate the party machinery will make some attempts to discredit me. The reality is that I have been regularly invited by the party to interview as a potential MP candidate. It was me who was reluctant to pursue this and for good reason. I respect the party whip but that should not extend to silencing advocates of peace.”
Following his resignation, Chohan will now serve as an independent on Kingston Council. The dispute within the party over the Gaza ceasefire adds another layer of complexity to an already contentious international issue.