Thursday, 16 July 2009

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 12 years I've been a councillor.”

Cllr Martin has not yet given the full reason for the shift but has said a statement will be released in due course.

Forest member Cllr Faiz Yunis confirmed that he too has been deselected but has said he will not yet comment on reports that he is set to follow Cllr Martin's lead.

He said: “As far as I've heard, the process has been suspended. There's an inquiry by the regional Labour party."

Councillor John Macklin, leader of the Lib Dem group, confirmed that the party had been approached by "a number of Labour Councillors... the circumstances surrounding the deselection of sitting Labour councillors have obviously generated a lot of anger amongst many members of their group."

The Liberal Democrat group now has 21 councillors - their highest total to date - while Labour have 24.

Neil Woollcott comments over on his blog:
I am not necessarily convinced that is a true defection. Does the Liberal Democrat values really reflect Councillor Martin's values or is it a point scoring exercise against his old guard?

Crossposted from Liberal Democrat Voice, an independent, collaborative website run by Liberal Democrat activists. Helen is a contributing editor at the site.

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