On the day the Indy’s poll of polls put the Liberal Democrats on just 11 per cent, Welsh Labour welcomed its first defection by a Lib Dem councillor since May.
On the day that the Independent’s poll of polls put the Liberal Democrats on just 11 per cent, Welsh Labour welcomed its first defection by a Lib Dem councillor since the Conservative-led government was established in May, with John Warman, a councillor in Neath since 1972, joined Welsh Labour.
In announcing the move, Mr Warman, the former Lib Dem group leader on Neath Council and parliamentary candidate in Ogmore in 1992, explained:
“This has not been an easy decision, but I feel as though the actions of the Tory-led coalition have left me with no choice. And I am under no illusion that this really is a Tory Government in all but name. The support I’ve had for the decision locally just shows that many people feel as let down as I do.
“I was there when Nick Clegg came to Swansea University during the General Election campaign – the pledge to end student fees earned him a hero’s welcome. I cannot abide hypocrisy in politics, and what Clegg and others have done in Government is unforgivable. They have abandoned a generation that looked to them for leadership.”
Standing alongside Warman, local Neath MP and shadow Welsh secretary, Peter Hain, offered an “open door” to Liberal Democrats seeking an alternative to the savage and unfair cuts being imposed on Wales, a call that was echoed by Labour’s first minister, Carwyn Jones. Speaking outside the Senedd, Mr Jones said:
“I am delighted that John has taken this courageous step and I warmly welcome him to the Labour Party. He is a hugely experienced and well-respected politician and I know he will make a superb contribution to our Party in the years ahead. It is now clear that Lib Dem involvement in the Tory-led coalition in Westminster is having a serious impact on the conscience of their grassroots members here in Wales.
“By joining the Tories in Government, the Welsh Lib Dems have given up on their radicalist tradition. Labour is now the only vehicle for true Welsh radicals to join and I would urge any Lib Dem supporters to follow John’s example and join us in standing up for Wales.”
In response to the move, the Liberal Democrats were able to offer little by way of a positive plan for economic recovery, with its press release launching an attack on Labour, despite today’s disastrous polls for the party. It concluded:
Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.
“It’s very sad that he has gone back to the Labour Party that has wreaked havoc in the Welsh economy. John Warman is returning to a party that has left families in his ward paying thousands for their mishandling of the economy, ran our health system into the ground and made a sham of our education system.”