Thursday, 3 March 2011

Lib Dems Lose Councillor To Labour in North East Lincolnshire

Cllr. Cliff Barber, Labour
(Freshney Ward)
Cllr. Cliff Barber, now Labour (Freshney Ward) has made the decision to defect from the Liberal Democrat group to Labour group on the North East Lincolnshire Council.

Cllr. Barber has said he felt it was in the best interests of the residents of his ward for him to serve them as a Labour member. It means that of the 42 elected members, the Conservative party continues to have the most seats, with fifteen.

The Conservatives had the most councillors with fifteen. The Liberal Democrats now have fourteen councillors, Labour now have twelve councillors and there is one Independent. However, after the local elections last year the Liberal Democrats took control with support from the Labour group.

Cllr. Barber, peaking to the Grimsby Telegraph, said:
"I have not rushed into this decision and have thought about it for a long time.

"I am one hundred percent for the community on my ward and I feel I have a better chance of helping them as a Labour member.

"I feel I will get more support from the Labour party and I have a better future with them.

"Local residents have said they will not vote for me in the future as a Liberal Democrat and I think nationally Nick Clegg has done huge damage."
Cllr. Barber, a councillor for two-and-a-half-years, will not be due for re-election until May 2012. He said he now wants to work with his fellow ward councillors on some 'fresh ideas'.

The Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, Cllr. Andrew De Freitas, Liberal Democrat, said:
"I am surprised and slightly disappointed that he has seen it necessary to take this step.

"It is times like these when the loyalties of members are severely tested because we are part of a Coalition Government that has had to take drastic steps to address the national deficit.

"These are tough times, I admit and it is testing the loyalty of members of the Group. We have always accepted we run a minority administration. It will not change the situation significantly."
The Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Keith Brookes, Conservative, who now has the greatest number of councillors said:
"The situation will remain on the decency of the leaders of the other two groups. It will be up to them to see if we have some control or some part of control because we clearly deserve it.

"We had around 21,000 votes at the last elections and the Liberals got around 17,000. That should show the public that we should be the controlling group.

"But if we tried to force an election, that would prove expensive."

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