Friday, 28 March 2014

Defection Watch: Lewes, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Harborough

A few defections have occured in the past few days.

Cllr James Page
Firstly, Cllr James Page (Lewes DC, East Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs) has defected from Conservative to the Liberal Democrats.  Page was the leader of the council since May 2012, but ousted last month.

The three-member ward is safely Conservative, although Page's high profile presumably gives him something of a personal vote should he choose to stand for election again when his seat is up in 2015.  His defection means that the Conservative and Lib Dem groups on the council are now tied for the position of largest party with 19 seats each, with UKIP and an Independent holding the balance of power.

New council composition -
Conservative - 19 (-1)
Lib Dems - 19 (+1)
UKIP - 2
Independent - 1

Meanwhile, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, not one but two Lib Dem councillors from the same ward have defected to Labour.  Cllr Billy Welsh and Cllr Simon White (both Madeley ward) attacked the Lib Dems for failing to deal with what they called the ongoing cost of living crisis, and said they were joining Labour who offered a solution to it.

Madeley is a historically Lib Dem ward, although Labour gained the seat up for grabs here in 2011 only to then lose it back to the previous Lib Dem Cllr in a 2012 by-election.  There hasn't been a normal election here since 2011 though, so Labour still look to be in a strong position to hold their two new seats here.

New council composition -
Labour - 36 (+2)
Conservative - 15
Lib Dems - 8 (-2)
Independent - 1

Cllr Colin Golding
Finally, in Harborough, Cllr Colin Golding (Broughton Astley, Broughton ward) has quit the Conservative group, criticising its leadership.  He said that the leadership of the council failed to meet his "personal standards" and as such he could no longer support the local Conservative organisation.

Harborough is a safely Conservative council, and in the Broughton Astley, Broughton ward, Golding defeated Labour in a straight fight in 2011 with 624 votes to 251.

New council composition -
Conservative - 25 (-1)
Lib Dems - 9
Independents - 3 (+1)

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