SIX Labour councillors have been denied the chance to contest May’s local elections under the party banner, the Chronicle has discovered.
A former Mayor of Hounslow, councillor Darshan Grewal, is one of the most significant casualties in a major clear-out.
The nominees for Labour candidates were finalised this week and in deselecting six sitting councillors, the party has denied nearly 17 per cent of the existing Labour complement of 35.
This does not include councillor Mohinder Gill, who has already said he will not contest next year’s poll.
The six councillors who have failed to be selected are : Mindu Bains (Isleworth); Ajmer Dhillon (Hounslow West); Poonam Dhillon (Cranford); Darshan Grewal (Hounslow Heath); Sohan Sangha (Cranford); Balvir Sond (Hounslow West)
The Chronicle contacted all six councillors. Three confirmed they had been excluded, Councillor Sond failed to respond to our request for information, while councillors Bains and Ajmer Dhillon refused to comment.
Councillor Poonam Dhillon declined to make any further comment but councillor Sangha said his name had been added to the nominees pending an appeal. He said he had no idea why he had been initially excluded.
Cllr Grewal, a ward councillor for 18 years, said he felt betrayed by the party he had represented for so long.
He revealed that the reason he was given for his deselection was a court case that was pending in which he is accused of ignoring potential fire hazards at the Karahi Palace restaurant in Hounslow West. He denies the charge and says the Labour party should allow the court to decide whether he is guilty.
He pointed out that previous ‘scandals’ had failed to affect his popularity at the 2010 local elections, when he received 2,533 votes, which was nearly double the number polled by his closest opposition rival.
In 2006, when Cllr Grewal was the borough mayor, the Chronicle revealed that his wife had applied to open a lap-dancing club at the Karahi Palace restaurant.
The application was quickly withdrawn and Mr Grewal denied any knowledge of it.
Three years later, police told a licensing review that he had ignored warnings in the run-up to a serious assault at the restaurant.
He protested to the Chronicle: “I’ve done so much for the party and for the people of Hounslow, and I can’t understand this decision.”
Cllr Grewal said his proudest achievements as a councillor included the creation of Lampton Park conference centre in Hounslow and new sports facilities for young people in Hounslow West.
He says he is appealing against his exclusion and has ruled out standing as an Independent candidate because he does not want to hurt the party.
When the Chronicle approached councillor Colin Ellar, chairman of Labour’s local campaign forum, he confirmed the names of the six councillors but refused to comment further.