The Southport Visiter confirms this afternoon what any honest observer has known for a long time, namely that Sefton Tories are riven with the most vicious bout of back biting and squabbling. Les Byrom has crossed the floor and joined the Labour Party and so becomes the first ever Sefton Labour councillor from Southport. Unless something shifts this is the end of Les's political career I doubt the Labour Party offer him a safe seat in Bootle-unless he has done some sort of deal for a quango seat?
His fellow councillor David Pearson-regarded as a genuinely decent man-was suspended from the Tory group and their new leader told the press that she wished him and his wife Barbara a happy retirement! David is made of tough stuff and successfully fought his corner was reselected for his ward and won a landslide victory. Wendy Jones another former Tory Mayor got the boot rumoured to be because she dared to suggest that Debbie Jones wasn't the right candidate for Sefton Central. Many have suggested that Sir Ron Watson a former Tory leader is the real bete noir of the odd assortment of the new Tory leadership and their hangers on who turned up in blue rosettes at the count.
It must have been terrible to drive Les into the arms of a Labour Party that is at a 30yr low in the polls. This blog has long identified the three Dukes Ward councillors as the target of the tiny Tory faction that has taken over the local party. Les is a natural Tory. He still takes every opportunity to praise the glorious years of Thatcher. We wait and watch now to see whether David Cameron acts after Les-who was one of the Tories most senior people in Local government in England-contacted him yesterday.
Here is the Visiter story:
Former Tory leader Les Byrom defects to Labour - UPDATE
Jun 10 2008 by Andrew Brown, Southport Visiter
FORMER Sefton Conservative leader Les Byrom is to defect to the Labour Party - after becoming disillusioned with internal wranglings within the party.
Cllr Byrom, who has served Dukes Ward for the Tories since 1985, informed David Cameron yesterday of his decision to resign from the party.
The Ainsdale resident said he had been “let down” by Sefton Conservative Group after leader Paula Parry removed him from Merseyside Fire Authority - a position he was awarded a CBE for.
Cllr Byrom has previously put himself forward to contest Southport and Wirral South as a prospective Conservative MP.
Speaking to the Visiter a few minutes ago, Cllr Byrom said: “No doubt people will say I have let them down, but I have been let down by people who should know better.
“Having been a Conservative for 35 years, this is a truly momentous decision that I have been forced to take.”
For more details about this story, don’t miss this Friday’s Southport Visiter.