Monday, 23 July 2012

A Sort-Of Defection in Stafford

A Lib Dem councillor on Stafford Borough Council has left the party to become an independent, but still remains part of the Liberal Democrat-Independent group on the council.  Such technical groups often exist to allow smaller parties on councils to gain committee seats and more influence, but it is certainly rare for members to switch between the different components of such technical groups.

The Staffordshire Newsletter reported that Cllr Chris Baron (Forebridge, since 1987) had left the party over concerns that they were failing to defend vulnerable groups from the Coalition Government's spending cuts.  This reason has been cited by a number of Lib Dem councillors leaving the party since the coalition agreement was first reached in 2010.

The two-member Forebridge ward had been safely Lib Dem for many years, with Baron repeatedly topping the poll.  However, in the last elections held in 2011 they lost their other seat to the Green Party's Tom Harris, who gained their first ever seat on Stafford Borough Council there.

The switch leaves the strength of each individual party on the council as:

Stafford Borough Council
Conservative36-
Labour18-
Independents3+1
Green1-
Lib Dems1-1

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