Independent councillor makes Labour ‘robots’ jibe as he quits politics

An independent councillor has announced his decision to quit politics weeks after referring to Labour opponents as ‘scum’ during a debate.
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Akef Akbar, who represents Wakefield East ward, said he will not be standing for re-election to Wakefield Council in May.

Coun Akbar took another swipe at Labour, referring to some of the party’s councillors as ‘robots’, and described the local authority as a ‘snake pit’.

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In a Facebook broadcast he said: “After significant consideration I have decided that I will not be standing in the upcoming elections and that I will be retiring from my position as your councillor.

Akef Akbar, who represents Wakefield East ward, said he will not be standing for re-election to Wakefield Council in May.Akef Akbar, who represents Wakefield East ward, said he will not be standing for re-election to Wakefield Council in May.
Akef Akbar, who represents Wakefield East ward, said he will not be standing for re-election to Wakefield Council in May.

“It’s been an extremely difficult decision to reach.

“I’m aware that it will be deeply upsetting for many people. For that I am very sorry.”

Coun Akbar said he plans to issue a formal statement outlining the full reasons for his decision stand down.

He continued: “I have been your elected councillor for three years.

Coun Akbar said he plans to issue a formal statement outlining the full reasons for his decision stand down.Coun Akbar said he plans to issue a formal statement outlining the full reasons for his decision stand down.
Coun Akbar said he plans to issue a formal statement outlining the full reasons for his decision stand down.
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“During that time I have been very busy, working extremely hard trying to make a difference within our ward.

“I believe I have not let you down.

“I have always gone that extra mile and done more than is expected of me.

“One of the key roles as a councillor is to represent your residents.

“We see time and time again, usually Labour councillors, they are robots – a good puppet.

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“They come in, they raise their hands and do as they are told.

“They don’t represent their residents, they represent their parties.

“I on the other hand have been a fearless and prominent voice within the council chamber representing my ward.

“Fighting tooth and nail for our rights within Wakefield East.”

Labour holds 48 of 63 council seats in Wakefield.

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Coun Akbar was elected as a Conservative in 2021 but resigned from the party within a year in protest at the whip system, which demands elected members vote with their party.

He stood as an independent candidate in the Wakefield parliamentary by-election in 2022, which was won by Labour’s Simon Lightwood.

Last month he apologised for referring to Labour opponents as ‘scum’ during a budget debate.

Coun Akbar said he made the remark in response to being accused of being a Tory but later accepted he should have “had a better choice of words.”

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Coun Akbar referred to his decision to sit as an independent in his social media message on Monday (March 18), saying: “What I am most proud of is that I have not sold out my residents for the sake of position.

“That I haven’t sold out myself for the sake of pleasing others.

“I haven’t sold my faith out for the sake of money as we have seen with many elected councillors in recent times.

“What is the cost of your people? Your values? Your faith? – a position in a snake pit.

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“Sadly, we have seen time and time again people selling out who they are for the sake of these positions,

“These positions mean nothing.

“The reason I became a councillor was to help my community.

“And I believe I have done a fair bit.”

The 32-year-old also said he wanted to dismiss “whispers” that he was not standing for re-election because he no longer has the backing of a party.

He said: “In 2021 I ran in a strong Labour ‘safe seat’. It was a historic win of a red wall seat.

“I didn’t just take the red wall seat down, I smashed it.

“Three years later, after helping and assisting countless residents, you just imagine what the results would be.

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“I’d undoubtedly win, whilst you Labour folk go knocking on doors begging for people to lend you their votes and then going back on your promises.

“I could literally stay asleep and win an election in Wakefield East.

“That is not me being cocky. The fact of the matter is that is as a result of my reputation and my work which speaks for itself.”