Former mayor and district councillor defects to Labour from Lib Dems
THE former mayor of Royston and the town’s only Liberal Democrat district councillor has defected to Labour one day after leaving office claiming he does not recognise his former party.
Councillor Robert Inwood announced his decision on Tuesday, citing his disillusionment with the coalition government as his main reason to turn his back on the Lib Dems.
In a statement the 44-year-old said: “In politics there are always some difficult choices that deserve to be considered over a period of time.
“This is exactly what I have done in deciding to join the Labour Party.
“In the past I have become more disillusioned with the Liberal Democrats and its support of the Conservative-led coalition government.
“Some of the party’s most treasured policies have been abandoned in pursuit of places in government and a lust for power.
“It is now a party I do not recognise and certainly not one that I could continue to support.”
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The NHS worker waited until he handed the mayoral chains to town councillor Lindsay Davidson as he did not want to bring the office into a “political arena”.
He also delayed the announcment until after last week’s North Hertfordshire District Council elections, despite resigning from the Lib Dems on April 18.
In the elections the Labour group leapfrogged the Lib Dems to become the official opposition to the Conservative Party on the council and the official opposition in Royston.
Cllr Inwood said: “I think people understand my reasons for leaving the Liberal Democrats because I feel that the people who voted for the Liberal Democrats will see that they have gone further from the path they were elected to follow.
“I think there will be backlash to a certain extent but I think there will be a lot of understanding on why I did this.”
Cllr Inwood, who sits on both Royston Town Council and North Herts District Council, will be the first Labour representative for Royston since 2002.
He was elected as a Liberal Democrat despite previously supporting the Labour Party.
Steve Jarvis head of the district’s Liberal Democrat group said he regretted Cllr Inwood’s move and has called for a by-election.
He said: “I think ideally it would be the right thing for him to do.
“When people do change parties it is right to go back to the electorate and see who they want under the circumstances.
“I’m under no illusions that there is no one who can make him do that, if he doesn’t want to do it.”
Les Baker, the secretary for the North East Hertfordshire Constituency Labour Party has backed Cllr Inwood rejecting any calls for a snap ballot.
Mr Baker said: “He is quite right to remain a councillor and will continue to play an active part in representing the people of the Palace Ward, but now as a Labour councillor.
“There is no question of him stepping down and causing a by-election until he comes to the end of his term in two years time.
“I think people are aware of his commitment to Royston and see someone who is working for our community regardless of any political persuasion.”
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