Palestine-activist councillor 'intimidated' THOUSANDS of colleagues to sign ceasefire letter

Cllr James Giles with an inset of pro-Palestine protests

Cllr James Giles with an inset of pro-Palestine protests

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 21/11/2023

- 07:48

Updated: 21/11/2023

- 10:36

James Giles threatened to publish the names of all those who had no signed the document

A councillor has been accused of "intimidating" thousands of colleagues after threatening to name anyone who opposed a ceasefire in Gaza.

Independent Cllr James Giles sent the "abhorrent" message to all 19,102 councillors in England and Wales on Sunday.

He was asking people to sign a public letter he had already penned alongside Conservative Cllr Jamal Chohan.

In his email, Cllr Giles said he would be publishing a list of all the people for the sake of "accountability".

WATCH NOW: Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf calls for a ceasefire

He suggested anyone who “feared retribution from their parties” could remain anonymous.

Cllr Giles added: “We will also be publishing the names of those who have been invited to sign but choose not to, in the interest of accountability.”

He was confronted by a wave of angry responses by councillors as tensions continue to run high.

Labour Councillor Matt Dent said: "To my mind this is blackmail and a threat to councillors' safety, which given the murder of David Amess seems especially reckless."

Liberal Democrat Rob Reiss added: "I received it as well. Won't be signing it regardless of my position as using naming and shaming as blackmail for political action is deeply disturbing."

Politicians have voiced concerns about after pro-Palestinian protesters confronted MPs who abstained on the ceasefire vote.

Pro-Palestine protestors in London

Pro-Palestine protestors in London


GB News' Patrick Christys saw first-hand the angry reaction outside Rushanara Ali's constituency office in East London.

A total of 56 Labour MPs defied Sir Keir Starmer's orders to vote for a ceasefire.

Cllr Chohan, who co-wrote the original ceasefire letter, claimed he had nothing to do with the email later sent by Cllr Giles.

In the joint-letter, the two Kingston councillors wrote: "To be clear and stating the obvious, antisemitism is wholly unacceptable.

"However, this term cannot continue to be weaponsied to absolve Israel of any accountability in how it has contributed to the ongoing tensions and its failure to comply with international law.”

Appearing on GB News yesterday, Cllr Giles said: "My endeavour, together with Conservative Cllr Jamal Chohan who co-wrote the letter, is to provide, if you like, a national voice on this issue from representatives locally to national leaders, from all parties and none."

Palestine protestersActivists demanded Sir Keir Starmer support a ceasefire in PalestinePA

He claimed a total of 500 councillors signed the cross-party letter.

In a statement released on Sunday night, Cllr Giles said: "There is no intention to publish names of councillors that do not respond to our email, nor is there any intention to publish the names of any individuals against their will."

The statement added: “We would encourage any elected representatives that have been threatened to contact the police as this cannot be tolerated.

"We will continue our democratic duty to engage in debate.”

Giles previously worked as an engagement manager for former Labour and Respect MP George Galloway.

Galloway, who was sacked from TalkRadio in 2019 after claiming Liverpool’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final meant there would be “no Israel flags on the cup”, included Giles in his campaign team in the 2021 Batley & Spen by-election.

Pro-Palestinian protesters march through central London to call for an immediate ceasefire in GazaPro-Palestinian protesters march through central London to call for an immediate ceasefire in GazaGETTY

The Local Government Association said the threat to compile a list of councillors “went against everything it stood for”.

Cllr Shaun Davies, chair of the LGA, confirmed an investigation is underway.

He said: “Pending investigation, Cllr Giles has stood down from all formal positions within the Local Government Association and all upcoming speaking opportunities at our events, with immediate effect.”

A spokesman for Kingston Council said: “Our primary concern is the security and safety of our residents, elected members, staff and our local communities, whilst encouraging tolerance and community cohesion.

“The campaign that has been brought to our attention by many is an initiative of individual councillors and is not Kingston Council led or endorsed.

“We are currently looking into the details surrounding this matter and are unable to provide any further comment at this stage.”

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