Former Labour Councillor Steve Wilson says he is “very very suspicious” of the circumstances surrounding the Labour Party’s decision to put his seat up for reselection in February.
Mr Wilson’s comments come just days before he vies for election as an independent candidate in Sheffield’s local elections.
He left the Labour Party in February just after his wife, MP Angela Smith, announced her defection to Change UK.
Mr Wilson was initially selected by Labour to defend his East Ecclesfield seat in November 2018, which he has held since 2011. However, a few months later senior figures in the party stepped in to announce that the process was to be rerun following a complaint.
Speaking to JUS News, Mr Wilson said: “It was quite clear that the Labour Party decided that, no matter what, they didn’t want me and the reasons were not to do with me, but my wife.
“I’ve got no proof but I’ve got no other reason to think of why I would be treated any differently to my other selections.
I asked for the reasons why the process was to be rerun, under different processes to the other 27 electoral wards in the city, but was never given satisfactory answers to my questions.Steve Wilson, Independent candidate for the East Ecclesfield ward
Mr Wilson claimed that he was not even able to contact his constituents, who elected him on three separate occasions, at which point he decided to leave and stand by himself.
Regarding his switch of allegiance and the antisemitism investigations into Labour, he said: “It’s the Labour Party that has changed, not me.
“I’ve seen some of the stuff that friends of mine, who are Jewish, have received from Labour Party members and it really concerns me.
“It’s moved away from what it was when I joined, which was an inclusive organisation that wanted to reach out to all sections of society.
“I dont believe it wants to do that anymore. Which is sad.”
Change UK was not able to field any candidates in this month’s local elections as the party was not registered in time. Mr Wilson will, however, be standing for Change UK in the MEP elections next month.
He said: “It’s a party that attracts me. It’s a party that wants to take a variety of views, wants to bring people together and it’s proving that with a lot of people whether they’re ex-Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative or Green.”
His wife Angela Smith is a Change UK MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, and caused controversy just days after defecting to the party when she appeared to refer to people of a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background as having a “funny tinge”
Furthermore, Change UK MEP candidates Ali Sadjady and Joseph Russo resigned following historic racist tweets resurfacing in the past few days.
Mr Wilson is up against seven candidates including Jordan Pont, who is running as a National Front nominee. This is the first time the far-right party has fielded a candidate in Sheffield City Council elections since 1980.
Commenting on his opponent, Mr Wilson said: “I denounce all politics of that ilk. Hopefully, his politics will be rejected.
“I’m not into the politics of hate. I think politics should bring people together to find solutions whereas some politicians on the national stage use language of fear and division.”
The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.