Tuesday 31 July 2012

'Betrayed' Brent Lib Dem councillor defects to Labour

Open letter from Councillor James Allie – Alperton Ward, Brent

It is with great sadness that after more than 10 years as a Liberal Democrat Councillor, this week I have resigned my membership of the party. I joined the Liberal Democrats because I wanted to help make Britain a fairer, greener and more equal country. I no longer believe that the Liberal Democrat Party has the will or the ability to make this happen. They have betrayed the values that I once shared with them.
However, I believe that the Labour Party, under Ed Miliband in Westminster and their new Leader of Brent Council Muhammed Butt, shares my values and that I can as part of a Labour administration, once again work to improve the lives of the people I represent. 

I have always struggled to lend my support to the devastating policies the Coalition is inflicting on Britain. I have also been sickened by the hypocritical things the Liberal Democrats do and say here in Brent. While my feelings about this have built up over the past two years, there are three issues that have finally pushed me to take this decision:
  1. The people I represent in Alperton are struggling more than ever under this government, but the Liberal Democrat Leadership in Westminster is prioritising reform of the House of Lords instead of a plan for economic growth.
  2. The closure of the A&E at Central Middlesex Hospital under this government is an astonishing betrayal. Brent MP Sarah Teather campaigned to keep the A&E when it was not under threat of closure. Now she is in government closing it. I am only sorry that I trusted her back then and I am sure that a number of her constituents feel the same way.
  3. The Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Brent, Paul Lorber, also knows very well that had the Lib Dems won the Local Election in 2010 they would have faced the same pressure to close the six libraries in Brent that have caused such a stir. It is the Coalition’s cuts to local government that have caused this problem and Cllr. Lorber’s posturing on the issue is just an insult to the library campaigners and the people of Brent.
I recognise that some of my constituents in Alperton will feel let down by my decision. I apologise to them if they feel I ought to have nailed my colours to the mast more firmly before the election. Equally I trust that many of them voted for me because they knew of the hard work that I have done as a councillor over the years.  I pledge to them that I will work harder than ever to improve the lives of everyone who lives in Alperton.

I know that there are many people who voted Lib Dem at the last election and indeed many Lib Dem members who feel as betrayed as I do by the party’s record in the coalition. I urge them to join me and to join the Labour Party.

Councillor James Allie

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