Lewisham Labour Group has launched an investigation into a councillor after she forwarded a WhatsApp message reported for being “racist against Indians”.  

Evelyn ward Cllr Caroline Kalu was reported for forwarding photos and links from a resident who “complained about lack of food, increases in prices, universal credit, and zero contract hours” amid the Covid-19 pandemic to a local forum on March 20.  

One message, along with a link from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) explaining what people can do if shops raise their prices, read: “Food price increase by Indian shops to exploit the current situation is illegal as there is no shortage of food. You can report this by calling 02037386000.” 

One resident described it as a  “racist view of many of us for doing well and supporting our families”.

Cllr Kalu has since deleted the message and apologised for forwarding it, which she said she “unconsciously reposted” without “realising what the comments were” to see if there were any price hikes in the area.  

“I did not realise what the comments were when I forwarded the message, and I apologise to anyone who took offence or felt sensitive to this topic.  

“This was a third-party report which I unconsciously reposted. 

“The comments made do not reflect my views,” she said.  

Cllr Kalu said she was concerned for locals after being sent reports of cooking oil and rice prices skyrocketing, while residents were asking “how are we meant to survive?”

A spokesperson for Lewisham Labour said anyone holding public office “is expected to have the highest standards of respect”.  

“Racism in any form will not be tolerated in Lewisham and anyone holding public office is expected to have the highest standards of respect at all times.  

“We are investigating this matter and will of course take any appropriate action,” he said.  

Cllr Kalu, who has represented Evelyn since May 2018 and is a member of children and young people select committee, said she works hard to support residents, having “rehoused 12 families” in the borough into permanent social housing since becoming a councillor, helping people with “universal credit and employment issues”, sourcing books for her local primary school, and through the Covid-19 pandemic arranged extra free food, with the help of Christ Embassy food initiative, every week for residents who are struggling. 

On forwarding the message she said: “Again, I apologise for this oversight” and it “does not reflect” her views.