Thursday, 27 February 2014

Defection Watch: Deselected Labour Cllr Joins Conservatives

In a somewhat rare about-turn, a former Labour Cllr in Barnet has joined the Conservatives.  Cllr Ansuya Sodha (Barnet, West Hendon) had been a Labour Cllr for 16 years, but quit the party after being deselected as a candidate ahead of May's London local elections.  After a couple of months as an independent, she has now joined the ruling Conservative group.

Sodha criticised the Labour Party, saying “It is no longer the party for equality and justice, especially when it comes to the Asian, Indian community."  She also added her support for the Conservatives' 'One Barnet' privatization plan, attacking her former Labour comrades for opposing it.

West Hendon is a fairly marginal ward.  Although it elected three Labour councillors in 2010, Labour only had a 41.4% vote share to the Conservatives' 35.5%.  Assuming Sodha is going to be standing under her new colours, you have to consider she has at least a reasonable chance of retaining her seat, especially given her veteran councillor status.

Barnet overall is a pretty safe Conservative council.  The new composition of the council is:

Conservative - 38 (+1)
Labour - 21
Lib Dems - 3
Independents - 1 (-1)

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