Councillor resigns from Islington Labour group

Disabled councillor Joan Coupland’s decision was sparked by anger at the way she says she has been treated by its leadership.

In the latest embarrassment to the council, Cllr Joan Coupland, 69, who represents St Mary’s ward, is leaving the party to go independent.

The former mayor, who has been a councillor for 14 years and defected from the Liberal Democrats in 2005, claims Labour’s bigwigs have sidelined her – and have been trying to push her off the council altogether.

She said: “They don’t listen to me. If they can treat me like this, how will they treat the elderly and disabled people in this borough?”

Cllr Coupland, who lives on the Popham Estate, off New North Road, Islington, was struck by a scaffolding pole 18 months ago and has had health problems ever since.

She struggles to sit for long periods, but is adamant that she is up to the job.

In her resignation letter handed to Cllr Catherine West, the leader of Islington Council, and the Labour group chief whip Cllr Kate Groucutt, she said: “I have felt unsupported by colleagues in the group throughout what has been a very difficult time for me personally. As leader and whip I hold you both accountable for the treatment I have received.

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“I have felt ostracised and victimised by treatment by some members of the Labour group that can only be described as shabby and hostile.

“I believe it has directly contributed to a deterioration in my health.”

Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition at Islington Council, said: “If this is how they treat someone who has given 14 years of their life to public service, someone who is elderly and disabled, God help Islington.”

Cllr Groucutt said: “I am sorry that Cllr Joan Coupland has decided to resign from the Labour group for personal reasons, but I wish her well for the future.

“At this time, our priority is keeping people and property in Islington safe and that is what we will continue to focus on.”