Brighton Labour Councillor Quits Role After Receiving Death Threats
Karen Barford will stand down next May.
A local Labour councillor will quit her role following a wave of abuse.
Karen Barford is a councillor for Brighton’s Queen’s Park ward.
Upon announcing her resignation, she stated that: “It will not be a surprise to some that one of my key deciding factors is the level of personal abuse and threats to my safety while carrying out my role as councillor.”
“This has caused a great deal of stress and concern, not only to me but to my family and friends.”
Barford received a series of threats via phone, email and in person.
She has commended local officials, however, stating that “the council has been great at offering advice and support. They risk-assessed my home, previous workplace and car, plus offering advice for community work. They also gave me access to their 24-hour security if I ever needed it.
Despite this, her former colleague and current Kemptown Labour MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, spoke of the need for improvement: “I hope Brighton and Hove police will review how they protect councillors in future.”
As well as Moyle, Daniel Yates, new Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, condemned the horrific abuse. He called it: “a black day in the history of our city”.
Barford represents just one of nine Labour councillors currently standing down next May. There are just 22, and the final number could rise as candidate selections commence.
Despite the abuse she received, Barford still thanked those she represented: “I must add that the huge majority of residents have been very supportive and respectful towards me and my fellow councillors. I will miss very much being able to represent their voices to make positive change in their lives and their communities.”
She also remains devoted to the cause of her party, despite her resignation: “I will remain a committed member of the Labour Party, supportive of its leadership and manifesto at a national and local level.”
A global survey undertaken in March revealed staggering levels of abuse directed at female politicians.
It found that “44% of those surveyed said they had faced abuse or violence.”
Barford’s resignation is symptomatic of the continued discrimination females face in modern society, even in a city as progressive as Brighton.