Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Lib Dem Chief Whip Joins Labour In Clegg's Backyard

According to a tweet by Labour MP Denis MacShane, Cllr Clive Skelton - Chief Whip of Sheffield City Council's Lib Dem group - has defected to Labour.

Skelton has served as a Lib Dem Councillor for Beauchief and Greenhill ward since 2004, and according to the local Lib Dem website was previously elected to Suffolk County Council before that.  He was safely re-elected in 2006 and 2010, but Labour won a seat in the ward for the first time in 2012 with the election of Cllr Roy Munn on a 13% swing from the Lib Dems.

The defection may be particularly troubling to Nick Clegg as it comes from his home city of Sheffield, although the Beauchief and Greenhill ward itself is in the neighbouring constitituency of Sheffield Heeley to Clegg's Sheffield Hallam seat.  Sheffield Heeley is held by Labour's Meg Munn, who won a majority of 5,807 over the Lib Dems in 2010.

Sheffield returned to safe Labour control in 2011, having lost it to No Overall Control in 2007 and then to a Lib Dem majority in 2008.  The defection further bolsters Labour's majority in Sheffield to 36 against the Lib Dem and Green opposition.

Sheffield City Council
Lib Dems22-1

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