Tag Archives: defections

In other news… Paddy in Lords bust-up; Manchester elects Lib Dem lord mayor; Defections round-up

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past few days…

Lord Ashdown and Lord Phillips in Lords reform clash (BBC News)

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown has clashed with one of his party colleagues during a debate on government plans to reform the House of Lords. Lord Phillips of Sudbury complained that the proposal would turn Parliament’s second chamber into a clone of the House of Commons, with politicians simply following the party line when it comes to voting. In finger-jabbing exchanges, Lord Ashdown argued that most peers should be elected. A

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In other news… Richard Kemp for Liverpool, Kennedy on the UK, defection in Cambridge, Hughes at Leveson

Here’s a round-up of stories we haven’t had time to cover on the site this past week…

Richard Kemp to represent Liberal Democrats in Liverpool mayor election in May (Liverpool Echo)

‘He said: “I am standing because I believe that only the Liberal Democrats have the long term strategies which will place this city in a leading position able to create the jobs and investment which this city so badly needs. Liverpool needs an encompassing vision and direction that everyone in the city, residents, business and friends can buy into and support.”

You can read Richard’s own account of …

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Top Cornwall Conservative councillor defects to Lib Dems

Jeremy Rowe’s blog has the news:

Jan Powell, the widely respected Chair of Cornwall Council’s Health Committee, has joined the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall. This has been as a result of the continuing disintegration of the Tory-led administration at the Council and also the work the Lib Dems have been doing locally and nationally to protect the NHS from Andrew Lansley’s controversial ‘reforms’.

Jeremy reproduces Jan’s letter explaining her decision, which concludes:

There has to be openness and transparency in everything we do and consultation must mean exactly that. Over the last 12 months there has been a marked contrast

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Welsh Lib Dem councillor defects to Labour

Some sad news for Welsh Lib Dems today, with Lib Dem county councillor John Warman defecting to Labour. The BBC’s Betsan Powys reports:

John Warman, a Neath County councillor has “come home to Labour” after 30 years as a Lib Dem. It’s clear he always very much felt and sounded like a Labour politician anyway and his is hardly the high profile defection Labour might have hoped for.

But if politicians who defect tend to be seen as opportunists, it has to be said Mr Warman didn’t much look like one this morning. He just looked fed up and too unhappy

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Six Rochdale Lib Dem councillors resign over leadership

From BBC News Manchester:

Six Liberal Democrat councillors in Rochdale have resigned from the party in protest over its leadership nationally and locally.

Pat and Ted Flynn, Peter Davison, Doreen Brophy Lee, Barbara Todd and Naim Mahmood will sit as independents.

Councillor Pat Flynn said the party was “doing too many U-turns”.

Councillor Dale Mulgrew, deputy leader of Rochdale Lib Dems, said the resignations were part of a dispute over the party’s selection process.

Two of the councillors had been deselected by the party ahead of next year’s local elections.

Rochdale Council is led by a coalition of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

Read the full story …

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Lib Dem councillor in Barnsley joins Labour

The BBC reports:

Barnsley’s only Liberal Democrat councillor has joined Labour because of her opposition to her party’s decision to join a coalition government. Sharron Brook had represented the town’s Dearne Valley South ward as a Liberal Democrat since 2003. Her decision to switch to Labour, which controls Barnsley council, came after she was briefed on the government’s plans for children’s services. “It was on impulse really, I’d had enough,” she said.

Cllr Brook gained some prominence in the summer, when she circulated a leaflet denouncing the Lib Dems’ decision to go into coalition with the Conservatives, telling voters she was …

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Kennedy defection rumours – another reason journalists are losing the public’s trust

So today, at last, the news media is finally reporting the pretty unsurprising news that Charles Kennedy, leader of the Lib Dems from 1999 to 2006, is not leaving the Lib Dems in 2010.

Now it is of course the silly season, and we can easily write off this journalistic confection as mere desperation to fill some column inches / dead air-time. But actually I think it’s a symptom of a wider malaise in political journalism, its ‘tabloidisation’.

How an unsourced rumour went viral

Let’s go back to Friday afternoon, when the Kennedy defection rumours started circulating, and work out how …

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Senior Labour councillor defects to Haringey Lib Dems

Councillor Brian Haley, one of the country’s most senior black Labour councillors, resigned from the Labour party today and joined the Liberal Democrats. He had been a Labour member for 16 years. His move comes after Haringey was rated one of the worst councils in the country.

This brings the number of Liberal Democrat Councillors in Haringey to 26 – well on course to take control of the council in May – while Labour now have 30.

Councillor Brian Haley, of St Ann’s Ward said:

Over the last few months it has become ever clearer that Labour has absolutely no vision to lift Haringey out of its current mess.

It is for this reason I have taken the difficult decision to leave Labour and join the only party that has the ideas and ability to turn things around.

The Liberal Democrats in Haringey are the only party with the drive and determination to provide local residents with the quality of service they deserve.

I would urge anyone wavering in their support for Labour to join me and back the Liberal Democrats which offers positive local change.

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Tory councillor in Cheltenham defects to Lib Dems

Here’s the text of the press release from Cheltenham Lib Dems just received by The Voice – the defection of Cllr Klara Sudbury from the Tories to Lib Dems takes Cheltenham Borough council from Lib Dem minority control (20 seats out of 40) to overall control.

County and borough councillor Klara Sudbury has today announced that she will be leaving the Conservative Party and applying to join the Liberal Democrats and the party’s groups on the county and borough councils.

Statement by county and district councillor Klara Sudbury

‘After giving it a great deal of thought I have decided to leave

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Tory councillor defects to Lib Dems in Somerset

Just four months into Somerset being ruled by a Tory administration, and all is not well, as the local paper reports:

A BRIDGWATER county councillor has defected to the LibDems just four months after being elected as a Conservative – slamming the new Tory administration as ‘disastrous’.

Cllr Stephen Gill narrowly fought off Labour leader Pat Parker to gain the Bridgwater South seat in June, but has now crossed over party lines to join the side he helped to oust from County Hall. Explaining his decision to the Mercury, Cllr Gill said the amount of money spent to find a

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Opinion: The Defection Spiral

It’s a case of déjà-vu all over again. The defections of Chamali and Chandila Fernando seem to have produced carbon copy internal debates to the ones that greeted Norsheen Bhatti and Sajjad Karim’s walkouts.

As a party we really need to start learning some lessons from these regular blows because I, for one, am tired and frankly quite bored of witnessing the same depressing spiral of losing bright young BAME talent followed by a debate more notable for its heat than light, as the membership lob brickbats at the defectors.

All too often there is precious little by way of actual solutions to improve racial diversity in the party, but no shortage of insults. Arrogant, selfish and over-ambitious individuals who saw advancement in the party as their entitlement… good riddance to these jumped-up scumbags, I hear you say. Over and over again.

The trouble is, once we’ve stopped furiously kicking up sand there is virtually no energy left to tackle perhaps the biggest elephant in the room – our failure to look like a diverse party. Having made significant in-road in the inner cities, the lack of visible diversity is one crucial blockage we must clear in order to surge into Labour’s ‘territory’, where they have taken black and Asian votes for granted for so long.

Given the virtual collapse of Labour, I suspect if we had got serious about diversity earlier, then by now the whole party would be feeling the benefits of BAME communities supporting us in greater numbers. Let’s not forget a borough-by-borough breakdown of the European Elections in the capital seemed to indicate that neighbourhoods with the highest BAME populations continued to be wedded to Labour, despite everything.

Proportionally, BAME communities appear to be the last section of the electorate still prepared to vote Labour in any numbers, even though most indicators of race inequality have hardly improved over the past 13 years.

The sad fact is that we Lib Dems are still failing to convince enough black and Asian people that we are a diverse party which understands the multicultural society they are part of. This is especially true in the large chunks of London where we do not have a major local presence.

Polling by Operation Black Vote has shown just how highly BAME voters rate the issue of ‘Black political representation’ as a reason to support one party over another. If we are to properly respond to this we need to challenge gut instincts that reject ‘putting people in boxes’ or fret about a ‘silo’ approach, because the desire of people from ethnic minorities to be treated equally, and not to be pigeon-holed, is just one side of the coin.

Most of the same ethnic minorities also agree that institutional racism and unequal racial outcomes need to be challenged and, like it or not, this process requires us to see colour and analyse why discrimination happens on different levels. Quite often that means targeting BAME communities, where they are under-represented, or altering structures when attitudes of officials (or party members) are not changing fast enough.

After Bhatti’s defection I wrote on the Lib Dem Voice Members’ Forum that we cannot afford to sit back and wait for the next defection. Action not recrimination was the order of the day. This is exactly what Nick Clegg and Chris Fox, working with Ethnic Minority Lib Dems (EMLD), led by Meral Eçe, have been doing. The New Generation, launched earlier this month, aims to provide personal development and media training for BAME candidates. We also have a good diversity officer in Issan Ghazni.

After years of token moves and good intentions that don’t deliver, finally under the current leadership we have something approaching a solid programme. I am excited that this initiative is heading in the right direction, but even this is only half the battle. The other half is the party at large demonstrating a passion to provide BAME members with the same support and encouragement that is available to white young members born into Liberal households, for example.

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Chamali and Chandila Fernando join the Conservatives

The London Evening Standard has the story:

David Cameron today hailed the defection of a Liberal Democrat London mayoral hopeful to the Tories.

Barrister Chamali Fernando, 30, from Finchley, ran to be the Lib-Dem candidate for Mayor of London but was defeated by Brian Paddick in 2007.

Ms Fernando’s brother Chandila is also leaving the Lib-Dems to join the Conservatives. The 32-year-old business developer failed in his bid last year to become president of the Lib-Dems.

Mr Cameron said: “I am delighted to welcome Chamali and Chandila to the Conservative party.

“It is very pleasing that two people who have played such an

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Cllr Milton Martin defects to Waltham Forest Lib Dems

A Labour councillor in Waltham Forest, north-east London, has defected to the Liberal Democrats after he and five colleagues were deselected by their own party last month.

From the Waltham Forest Guardian:

Cathall member Cllr Milton Martin made the switch after he was spurned by the party in a major cull, it has been confirmed.

He said: “It’s true that I’ve crossed the floor and I’m no longer part of the Labour group.

“It’s to do with the deselection but it’s a long story and it’s also to do with a catalogue of things that have taken place over the last

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Second senior Greater Manchester Lib Dem defects to Labour

It’s only a couple of weeks since Lib Dem Voice noted the defection of Denton and Reddish parliamentary candidate Paul Moss from the Lib Dems to Labour. Now comes news of a second defection, this time of Karen Wright, a former Lib Dem leader on Tameside council and a councillor for 12 years, until she stood down in 2008. The Manchester Evening News reports:

Explaining her decision to quit the Lib Dems, Ms Wright said: “The timing of my move was always going to be difficult but, the failure of the Lib Dems to put forward a candidate in

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Greater Manchester Lib Dem PPC defects to Labour

The Manchester Evening News has the story:

A Liberal Democrat candidate for the next General Election has defected to Labour. Paul Moss had already been selected as candidate for Denton and Reddish but has now quit the party.

Mr Moss said: “Nationally the Liberal Democrats are a complete joke. And I have seen how the Lib Dems in Stockport have completely ignored local people and have helped to seriously damage communities like Reddish through their uncaring policies.”

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “It’s a shame he feels this way. He certainly didn’t express these views when he was trying to become our

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Lewes Lib Dem councillor defects to Tories

Yesterday, my LDV colleague Mark Pack blogged of Labour-to-Lib Dem defector in Merseyside. Alas, this week’s defection news isn’t all cheery for the party:

A Liberal Democrat councillor defected to the Conservatives saying his dedication to his town was not recognised by his old party. Robbie Robertson, who represents Newhaven Valley on Lewes District Council, announced his decision to cross the floor after his party raised council tax by 16% in Newhaven.

He said: “I am a dedicated and hard working councillor but sadly in my present position my skills are not utilised.

“Becoming a councillor was for me

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Should Lib Dems want Labour defectors to join us?

The Telegraph suggests that “senior” Labour MPs and peers are considering breaking away from their party in disgust at Gordon Brown’s leadership and fear of a lurch to the left. Talks are apparently afoot to convince them to become Liberal Democrats. As usual with unattributed stories, it is impossible to tell whether there is any basis to the newspaper’s speculation – or whether it is entirely unfounded.

But assuming for a moment it is true, some will be tempted to question whether the party should welcome defectors from Labour. I’ve previously outlined why I don’t subscribe to the view …

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Another Councillor defects: Tories lose majority on Crawley BC

Crawley Borough Councillor Marcella Head has left the Conservatives and joined the Liberal Democrats according to local Lib Dem Councillor Gordon Seekings.

The defection means the Tories’ lose their majority on the Council which is now 18 Con, 16 Lab and 3 Lib Dem and becomes NOC with the Lib Dems holding the balance of power.

This comes just days after a defection by a Conservative on Dover District Council led to the Tories losing their majority on that Council which is now 22 Con, 17 Lab, 3 Lib Dem and 3 Ind.

Marcella is distributing a letter to all her constituents and writes:

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Lib Dems gain councillor; Tories lose Dover?

News reaches us that a Conservative councillor on Tory-run Dover District Council has defected to the Liberal Democrats.

We understand this would leave the Conservatives with a minority administration and the possibility of losing control entirely.

Update: The Dover Liberal Democrats site has the full story.

Cllr Paul Dawkins has resigned from the Conservatives and joined the Liberal Democrats. He said: “We need to restore political balance to the Council to make it more responsive to local needs. The Lib Dems will give me the opportunity of working with a committed team, something that I that I have not had previously.”

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Former Labour defecter defects back to Labour

Andy Mayer has a very good take on a recent defection from the Liberal Democrat group in Southwark.

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Conservative councillor joins Lib Dems

A Conservative councillor in Mole Valley has switched to the Liberal Democrats. One of her reasons particularly caught my eye:

“Mr Cameron does not seem to be following up his rather vague aspirations with any solid policies.”

Who knows, perhaps it is because he is so busy changing his clothes?

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