Cllr Mike Atwood has defected from the Conservative Party to Labour citing the impact of austerity on his local area as a primary reason for the switch.
The councillor defected to Labour on July 5th after a meeting and a “difficult decision”.
The Tory council leader called the move a “shocking attempt” by Labour to take control of the council. The move has extra significance due to the makeup of the council as Mike Atwood changing parties now makes Labour the largest party on the council with 36 councillors with the Tories left with 35 and 1 independent.
Cllr Mike Atwood has become disillusioned with many Tory policies and stated:
“I got into politics to make a difference and only Labour have a plan to build a better, fairer society that works for everyone.”
The austerity measured forced upon the council by Westminster and the council’s lack of effort in trying to mitigate the negative impact of them was cited as a primary reason for swap.
“I’ve seen first-hand what Government cuts are doing to Dudley and my constituents in Norton ward. Conservative-run Dudley Council is doing nothing to stand up for the people I represent.
Funding cuts have hurt public services badly especially recently in education where 500 teaching jobs are set to be axed. The councillor continued saying
“Dudley is at the heart of the Black Country. As Black Country Day draws closer I have realised that the only way to stand up for my constituents was to join the local Labour Party.
Labour will see it as a huge victory, not only locally where it looks like they will take control of the council but also nationally as it shows that even previously faithful Tories see the negative impact of their party’s policies.
Labour becoming the largest party means they will submit a motion of no confidence against Tory group leader Patrick Harley, Labour’s leader on the council expects this vote to take place in October.