Another Labour councillor has defected to the Conservatives. This time its Cllr Betty Evans-Jacas, who represents the Brixton Hill Ward on Lambeth Council. This is the same ward represented by the Labour leader of Lambeth Council Cllr Steve Reed. She is also a Labour nominated member of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and had been a member of the Labour Party for more than a decade.
Cllr Evans-Jacas says:
“I have written to my constituents in Brixton Hill explaining my decision to resign from the Labour Group in Lambeth. After years of agonising over the failure of the leadership of the Labour Party in Lambeth to listen to the residents, faith organisations, and business of Brixton Hill and Lambeth as a whole, I have decided to become a member of the Conservative Party under David Cameron. I believe that under his leadership, I will be able to fulfil all of my duties as a Brixton Hill ward councillor and have therefore applied to join the Conservative Group on Lambeth Council.”
Councillor John Whelan, Conservative Group Leader, says:
“We have no hesitation in welcoming Betty to David Cameron’s Conservative Party. Betty is a woman of great integrity who is respected throughout the borough for her dedication to public service on Lambeth Council where she has been a consistently strong voice for the residents, faith groups, and small businesses of Brixton Hill. I was privileged to serve with her for two years on the London Fire Authority where she impressed everyone with her concern for the safety of all Londoners.”
Streatham Conservative Parliamentary Candidate Rahoul Bhansali says:
“I look forward to working closely with Betty to fight for the interests of Brixton Hill and all Streatham residents. Betty’s decision reflects what is happening across the constituency. More and more voters who I speak to are disillusioned with Labour and see the Conservatives as the viable alternative.”
Welcome aboard. I've noticed several of the councillors defecting to us from Labour (for instance in Enfield and Brent) are black. Each will have their own reason for undertaking such a journey. But I suspect that sometimes they were never really socialists but joined Labour as it seemed their natural home. Perhaps they thought the Conservatives were racist. Or perhaps they thought that even if they didn't envcounter hostility within the Conservative Party they would feel a bit odd. Anyway that seems to be changing.
It will be interesting to see what happend in Lambeth in the Council elections next year. The Conservatives will offer a radical waste busting Council Tax cutting agenda. Council leaseholders are often in that important group of floating voters (or "swing voters" as the Americans call them.) They don't sound thrilled by the Council doubling their service charges.