“I am Labour through and through”: Long-standing councillor has party membership reinstated

Rocky Gill has represented the Longbridge ward in Barking since 2006. Picture: Archant

Rocky Gill has represented the Longbridge ward in Barking since 2006. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A local councillor has had his Labour Party membership fully reinstated after being excluded from the party last month.

Cllr Rocky Gill, who represents the Longbridge ward for Barking & Dagenham Council, had had his party membership automatically revoked on Friday, May 24 due to concerns about his conduct online. In April the former deputy council leader had retweeted a series of tweets apparently in support of the Brexit Party from his personal account. But following a full review by the party's legal and governance unit Cllr Gill's auto-exclusion has been overturned, and as of June 19 he is once again a full member of the Labour Party.

In a statement, Cllr Gill, who has served as a councillor continuously since 2006, said his tweets were meant to indicate the "threat" that Nigel Farage's fledgling party posed, not to endorse it. He said: "I was in no doubt that my loyalty to, and membership of, the Labour Party would be upheld.

"I have served our community as a councillor, deputy leader of the council, cabinet member for many years, and a Labour Party Parliamentary candidate in a neighbouring seat in 2017.

"I've never voted for another party, no would I. I am Labour through and through. And I am pleased I can now again focus on serving Longbridge ward residents.

"I have no qualms in admitting I voted to leave the European Union, and continue to believe that the 2016 referendum vote should be honoured - as I believe the majority of residents in our borough do.

"I used social media to highlight the Brexit party threat, a serious one, but at no point have I endorsed the toxic divisive politics of Nigel Farage."