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 with his lot to remain a Lib Dem.

“I was there when Nick Clegg came to Swansea University during the General Election campaign – the pledge to end student fees earned him a hero’s welcome. I cannot abide hypocrisy in politics, and what Clegg and others have done in Government is unforgivable. They have abandond a generation that looked to them for leadership”.

The party issued the following more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger statement:

“It’s very sad that he has gone back to the Labour Party that has wreaked havoc in the Welsh economy. John Warman is returning to a party that has left families in his ward paying thousands for their mishandling of the economy, ran our health system into the ground and made a sham of our education system.”

Cllr Warman stood for Parliament as a Lib Dem in 1992 in Ogmore.

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This entry was posted in News and Wales.


  • “I cannot abide hypocrisy in politics.”

    Presumably being elected as a representative of one party and then actually being a representative of another doesn’t count?

  • Chris Riley 5th Jan '11 - 3:38pm


    You’ve left a bit of an open goal there. Have a think about it.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 5th Jan '11 - 3:45pm

    “It’s clear he always very much felt and sounded like a Labour politician anyway”

    Given that it would appear unlikely that the BBC has been monitoring him for the last 30 years – this looks very clearly like a line fed to the correspondent by the LibDems.

  • @Ryan M…you complete tool, read what you just wrote a couple of times until it sinks in!

  • Leviticus18_23 5th Jan '11 - 4:14pm

    “It’s very sad that he has gone back to the Labour Party that has wreaked havoc in the Welsh economy. John Warman is returning to a party that has left families in his ward paying thousands for their mishandling of the economy, ran our health system into the ground and made a sham of our education system.”

    Spectacular own goal!!!11!!

    It’s bad enough that people feel the LibDems are liars or sell outs without trying to insult them further.

    It’s time to take a good hard look in the mirror. People don’t hate the Conservatives this much…

  • Hove Howard 5th Jan '11 - 4:20pm

    If that press statement is ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ then I wouldn’t like to see one written when they get really cross.
    Toys out of pram or what!

    I stuck my Lib Dem membership card in the shredder after the great pollyannafest that was the autumn conference. But I come back to this site occasionally, more in sorrow than in anger, of course.

  • 30 years or so ago many began a journey from Labour via either the Liberal’s or SDP and ended up as Lib Dems. It’s a shame that his 30 years of service have ended and that rather than accept the issues behind it are genuinely felt that insults have to be thrown.

    I’ve no problem with the party issuing a statement damming Labour, this is politics after all. But to those on here, don’t so publically slam the door on someone who in time could reconsider. If you do you are also slamming the door in the face of many voters who feel the same…..

  • I wonder how many more will follow to try and keep their allowances. Polls in Wales are Lib Dems in Constituency 6% and Regional 5%. Likely only 2 seats on the Assembly and the councils? Sinking ship mentality ahoy!

  • Own goal, really?

    I joined the Lib Dems because they are a pluralist party, open to coalition and cooperation. I spent many hours on the doorstep explaining to people that the Lib Dems believed that and may go into coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives.

    I wouldn’t expect Labour trolls to understand what canvassing, cooperation and pluralism are.

  • Well done to John Warman, the Labour Party is now the only progressive, centre-left social democratic party, that believes in social justice and fairness, that doesn’t wan’t to break up the UK.

    @Ryan, the Liberal Democratic party is formed from people who have defected from other parties, indeed the SDP was founded by defetors.

  • Simon McGrath 5th Jan '11 - 7:11pm

    Remember John ‘don’t mention the war’

  • Ryan, what do you, personally mean by “pluralism”? It sounds, from the practical way you describe / imply it, that you mean “without ideology, or definite principles”. From thebeginning of the party, at Merger, there were passionate, furtous discussions about how the preamble to the constitution would be framed, what would be in it, what left out etc. Now clearly, like the Labour Party’s defunct Clause 4, these things date, but you are very much mistaken if you think the Lib Dems generally are a party without a set of values and principles. I may be misinterpreting you, and if so, I apologise.

  • Andrew Suffield 5th Jan '11 - 9:13pm

    You mean the health system that was on the brink of collapse in 1997 and is now regarded as one of the best and most efficient in the world?

    Citation needed. The only thing I can recall that you might be referring to is the Commonwealth Fund report – but that only compared 7 counties, none of which were the countries generally regarded as having the best healthcare (some of the usual top names would be: Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Japan, Iceland)

    Before that you’d have to go back to the WHO 2000 report, which doesn’t consider anything much past 1997

    You mean the party with economic policies the Lib Dems supported until they were offered jobs?

    I’m pretty sure I recall them opposing Labour for most of the past ten years or so.

  • @Nathan, please tell me who considers the NHS among the most efficient in the world.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 5th Jan '11 - 10:19pm


    “I joined the Lib Dems because they are a pluralist party” – you mean pluralist in the sense of saying that a member of 30 years standing “always very much felt and sounded like a Labour politician anyway ” . Very welcoming and pluralist indeed if he couldn’t allay your suspicions after 30 years. I daresay the real pluralist party will be a little more trusting of Mr Warman.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 5th Jan '11 - 10:23pm

    If Agent Warman really did spend 30 years under cover in the LibDems he really does deserve some kind of medal – I’d struugle to last 30 minutes!

  • Bryan Labour troll 5th Jan '11 - 10:52pm

    Andrew check with King’s fund or visit me a King’s College London I will personally give you the data.

    “come home to Labour” has a ring to it.

  • Nathan: >“You mean the health system that was on the brink of collapse in 1997 and is now regarded as one of the best and most efficient in the world?

    No, the one in Wales.
    Which, under a Labour-led administration is under-performing that in England.

    As is education.

    Geraint: > the Labour Party is now the only progressive, centre-left social democratic party, that …..doesn’t wan’t to break up the UK.

    Really? Who broke up the UK by giving us a referendum on devolution in 1997?
    Remember the badger-loving Mr Davies, “”the architect of devolution” – and Labour secretary of state at the time?

    The only party calling for a ‘no’ vote in 1997 were the Tories.

  • David Allen 6th Jan '11 - 12:03am

    “out of the frying pan and into the fire…”

    Yes, you may be right. But might I just point out that the frying pan is also a rather unhealthy environment these days?

  • Andrew Suffield 6th Jan '11 - 8:17am

    Andrew check with King’s fund

    A quick glance at their list of publications indicates they have no comparisons of the NHS to other countries.

    visit me a King’s College London I will personally give you the data.

    Peer-reviewed publication or it’s a fake.

  • There are, of course, many many ex-Labour people in Lib Dem ranks, as Councillors, MPs etc etc. I suppose all of these are “undercover”, then?

  • People change their minds – usually we like that when they agree more with us and don’t like it when they agree less with us.

    I still feel personally let down by Tont Blair breaking his pledge to have a referendum on the voting system, to have an ethical foreign policy and on other issues.

    Party activists spend hours writing letters, delivering leaflets, posting on websites, canvassing etc all aimed at changing they way people behave, and then when someone does change – they give em some stick.

    Good luck to Mr Warman – I not to keen on hyperbole in politics – to speak of having “abandomned a generation” is perhaps a tad over the top, and whether people want to blame Labour or not, everyone is the UK is saddled with a massive debt which makes the tuition fees look very small.

  • There are plenty of people who jump ship in politics ‘hiding’ in all parties. I know ex-tories, ex-greens and a few ex-labour in the Lib Dems, and know a few Greens, Tories and Labour who used to be in the Lib Dems themselves!

    For some of the ex-labour members, thrashing the Tories is often more important than Liberalism, and we shouldn’t be surprised when the opportunity for Tory-thrashing doesn’t belong to us any more and they move back where they came from.

    The left often sees a continuous movement between parties – from Communist to Labour to Green back to Labour to Lib Dem and back to Labour….. whereas the right seems to stay in one place.

  • @Matt who said: ‘I don’t suppose it will be to long down the track before we start seeing Liberal Democrat MP’s start jumping ship to be honest’.

    Yea but will they be jumping to the Tories or Labour or being LibDems jumping both ways 🙂

  • @ cassie

    Nothing worng with devolution. Wales has different needs from the rest of the UK, and should be able to make Welsh soltutions for Welsh problems. Moreoever it is also more democratic to have devolution. Wales has voted for a Labour government every general election since the 2nd World War, and yet often didn’t get the government that we voted for. Wales didn’t want Thatcher, and yet we had her forced on us. Devolutions means that Wales can now have the government it wants.

    It has nothing to do with the break up of the UK, it has nothing to do with independence.

    Moreover, the four current main parties in Wales (Welsh Labour, Plaid, the Welsh Tories and the Welsh Lib Dems.) all support the Yes campaign in the referendum in March to give Wales primary powers in the areas that are already devolved to Wales. If this was anything to do with the break up with the UK, I doubt the Conservative and Unionist Party would support it.

    On the Welsh NHS, a lot of the issues with that are to do with the long term health probems that are faced in Wales, the Welsh Labour/Welsh Labour-Fib Dem/Welsh Labour-Plaid governments of previous have all done very good things to help improve the NHS in Wales, but such improves do take time, and progress is being made. On some areas in Wales we are doing better in both Health and Education. Indeed the foundation phase in eduction promises to reap a lot of rewards in the years to come.

  • matt
    Labour has no policies. Sure people are unhappy but
    when they realise how much worse it would be under
    Labour they will hold back. OP leads will be quickly
    wiped out.

  • @ Matt

    And those policies are………..??

    Please enlighten us. We’re dying to know.

  • Nice try, but all Labour seems to be trying to do at the moment is to put the blame for its own failures on to other people and retreating so far into deficit denialism that it is destroying any future credibility. Until it owns up to its past, how can it progress towards any future or come up with any worthwhile policies?

    Specific policy proposals spring from basic principles and ideas. At the moment, all the signs are that any groundwork that might provide any policies for the future is utterly missing or is being entirely botched.

  • Alun Williams 15th Jan '11 - 7:28pm

    Presumably all those who shriek with indignation at the debacle over tuition fees will reserve at least half of their anger for the Labour Party that promised not to introduce fees (and then introduced them) and then promised not to put them up (and then…yes, you’ve guessed it). And the Labour Party was the sole party of government, not the junior party.
    I agree with Ed Milliband’s appeal to Lib Dems in this respect: those who have no stomach for the fight and are too foolish and weak to take difficult decisions should join the Labour Party.

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