Cllr Aziz said:
“I woke up and saw Pendle Labour, their President Azhar Ali, and Leader Mohammed Iqbal for who they are. They run their Councillors like a dictatorship. You aren’t allowed an opinion or to disagree, or you’ll be sidelined, this happened to me and I had the party whip removed. That isn’t what I was elected for. I stood up for what I believed in and they didn’t like it. I wanted the voice of the residents to be heard, and the Conservatives are the party to allow me to do that."
“I have been considering my position for some time now, and have regularly been meeting local MP Andrew Stephenson and Leader of the Council Joe Cooney over a period of months. Nobody is working as hard for Pendle as the two of them. They are the best people to take Pendle forwards, and I want to be part of that progression”.
Councillor Aziz’s defection brings the size of the Conservative Group to 19, and to its highest level in thirty years. The Conservatives are now only six Councillors short of an outright majority.
Conservative Leader of Pendle Borough Council, Cllr Joe Cooney, said:
“The Conservative Group wholeheartedly welcomes Councillor Aziz, who I have go to know personally as someone who is genuine and has the interests of his electorate at heart. It is clear to see there are many disaffected Labour councillors on Pendle, and we extend a hand of friendship to them if they want to be part of the progression and improving this Borough for everyone in it."
Pendle’s Conservative MP Andrew Stephenson added:
“I have worked closely with Councillor Aziz over the past few months, and he will be a real asset to the Conservatives. It is a vote of confidence for the work of The Conservatives Party in Pendle, and the work everyone is doing”.
On Labour's "106 battleground targets" Pendle is at number 57. It is one of the seats Labour must gain for Ed Miliband to be striding into 10 Downing Street. So the defection of Cllr Aziz is especially welcome.