Thursday, February 02, 2017

Tower Hamlets Labour councillor switches to the Liberal Democrats

Good news from the Evening Standard:
Labour lost its overall majority on a major London borough today as a councillor defected to the Liberal Democrats over Europe. 
Tower Hamlets councillor Andrew Cregan revealed his decision exclusively to the Evening Standard and said Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to support the Government on triggering Article 50 had been the last straw.
It doesn't usually do to make too much of political defections. Those involved are often facing deselection from their council seats and, seeing them, you suspect they deserve it.

But Cregan is not like that. He is young and gives every impression of being talented.

And political defections are like local by-elections. Individually they mean nothing, but over time a pattern emerges. They show you which way the political tide is flowing.

So let's hope Cregan's arrival in the Lib Dems is the harbinger of many more such defections.

Over on the Tower Hamlets Lib Dems website, Elaine Bagshaw is has no doubts:
"I'm delighted to welcome Andrew to the Liberal Democrats today. Brexit is one of the biggest threats to the UK there has been in our lifetime, yet Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have forgotten what it means to be an opposition. They are skipping hand in hand off the edge of the Brexit cliff with Theresa May and the Tories. 
Tower Hamlets is home to Canary Wharf and a growing technology industry. All of that is under threat from Brexit. Thousands of jobs will be lost if financial services firms have to leave, and a borough that already has nearly 50% of its children growing up in poverty will only see that get worse. Corbyn and the Labour party are being totally complicit in the damage Brexit will wreak on our local area. 
I encourage any members of the Labour party who really care about us being open, tolerant and united as a country to join the Liberal Democrats today."
All good stuff, but those of us who remember what relations were like between Labour and the Liberal Party in Tower Hamlets in the 1980s are smiling wryly tonight,

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