Labour offers “open door” to disaffected Lib Dems

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:

“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.”

23 Responses to “Labour offers “open door” to disaffected Lib Dems”

  1. Matt Hayes

    RT @leftfootfwd: Labour offers "open door" to disaffected Lib Dems: //bit.ly/eMLTm2 reports @EdJacobs1985

  2. Ed Jacobs

    RT @leftfootfwd: Labour offers "open door" to disaffected Lib Dems //bit.ly/ij7li2

  3. alexsmith1982

    Second disaffected former Lib Dem PPC defects to Labour //bit.ly/ggusdu

  4. Chuka Umunna

    RT @alexsmith1982: Second disaffected former Lib Dem PPC defects to Labour //bit.ly/ggusdu

  5. Bill Kristol-Balls

    This bloke is so outraged because his party has screwed over students he defects to the party that –

    Screwed students

    Twice

    When they had a massive majority in the Commons

    And there was lots more money kicking around

    Brilliant 🙁

  6. Ben Surtees

    RT @alexsmith1982: Second disaffected former Lib Dem PPC defects to Labour //bit.ly/ggusdu

  7. Ben Surtees

    RT @alexsmith1982 Second disaffected former Lib Dem PPC defects to Labour //bit.ly/ggusdu > Ogmore PPC in 92, not exactly a heavyweight

  8. mike preno

    RT @leftfootfwd: Labour offers "open door" to disaffected Lib Dems //bit.ly/ij7li2

  9. Gordon MacMillan

    And another RT @leftfootfwd: Labour offers "open door" to disaffected Lib Dems //bit.ly/ij7li2

  10. Alex Lawrence

    RT @leftfootfwd: Labour offers "open door" to disaffected Lib Dems: //bit.ly/eMLTm2 reports @EdJacobs1985

  11. Shamik Das

    RT @AlexSmith1982: Second disaffected former Lib Dem PPC defects to Labour: //bit.ly/ggusdu writes @EdJacobs1985 on @LeftFootFwd

  12. Broken OfBritain

    RT @SlashedUK: RT @leftfootfwd: Labour offers "open door" to disaffected Lib Dems: //bit.ly/eMLTm2 reports @EdJacobs1985

  13. SlashedUK

    RT @leftfootfwd: Labour offers "open door" to disaffected Lib Dems: //bit.ly/eMLTm2 reports @EdJacobs1985

  14. Tristan Cox

    @Bill Kristol-Balls – the difference being that Labour’s top up fees were to top up the state’s contribution to HE funding, whereas the Lib Dem/Tory fees are to replace 80% of the state’s contribution. This government does not think it is the duty of the state to help produce graduates. It is a short-sighted view at best.

  15. Éoin Clarke

    Ed,

    Please tell me that I read your post incorrectly but you say that the recent defection is the first since may… I am under the impression that there has been about 10 councillors who have abandoned yellow, with 3-4 of them already coming over to reds… I can if you wish go and dig up their names [Balls attracted two of them into the fold]… but unless I have read you incorrectly, then this is not the first defection…

    sorry to be a pain..

  16. Shamik Das

    Hi Éoin,

    I believe Ed is referring to this as the first defection to Welsh Labour; you are right, there have been many defections already from the Lib Dems to Labour in England, as I reported in September: //www.leftfootforward.org/2010/09/senior-tory-council-defects-to-labour-over-goves-school-cuts/ – I’m not sure of the up-to-date figure but the trend looks like continuing.

    Shamik

  17. Éoin Clarke

    Shamik,

    Ta for that 🙂

    Ed, apologies 🙁

  18. paul barker

    Sorry to drag some dull facts into this thrilling story, about 10 LibDem councillors have left the Party, out of about 4,000. Most of them havent joined Labour.
    About 600 LibDem members have resigned, out of 66,000 but theres no way to know how many have joined Labour, less than 100 would be my guess but its only a guess.
    There is a steady trickle of people leaving one Party to join another but such moves only get coverage if they fit some popular Media narrative, as in this case.

  19. matthew fox

    Don’t know how Lib Dems have the cheek to accuse Labour of running the health system into the ground. Nurses are subjected to a two year pay freeze.

    The statement shows how out of touch the Lib Dems are, they have no problem standing idly by while the unemployment lines begin to grow.

  20. Kevin Richards

    Another defection from the LibDems to Labour- RT @leftfootfwd: Labour offers "open door" to disaffected Lib Dems //bit.ly/ij7li2

  21. Mr. Sensible

    Tristan I couldn’t put it better myself.

    Add to that the fact that this plan will probably increase the deficit…

    And I agree with that too Matthew; the pledge to protect the NHS is being broken.

  22. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Labour offers "open door" to disaffected Lib Dems //bit.ly/ij7li2

  23. Elections galore in a big year for Wales | Left Foot Forward

    […] Left Foot Forward reported the first defection of a Liberal Democrat councillor to Welsh Labour since the election, and the […]

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