Ex-MP ‘puz­zled’ as Lib-Dem pair de­fect to Labour party

Midweek Visiter - - News - BY AN­DREW BROWN an­drew.brownNW@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @visan­drew­brown

FORMER South­port MP John Pugh says he is “puz­zled” by the de­ci­sion by South­port Lib­eral Demo­crat coun­cil­lors Mar­i­anne and Bill Welsh to de­fect to Labour.

The cou­ple, who rep­re­sent Nor­wood Ward on Sefton Coun­cil, joined South­port Lib Dems af­ter mov­ing to the area in 2009, but left be­cause they felt it had drifted fur­ther to the right and they were also in­creas­ingly un­happy with the way the local party was be­ing run.

Bill Welsh said: “We found the Lib Dems’ 2017 man­i­festo unin­spir­ing and dis­agreed with a num­ber of its poli­cies, par­tic­u­larly their re­gres­sive in­come tax stance.

“By con­trast, we were ex­tremely im­pressed with the Labour man­i­festo and ad­mired Jeremy Cor­byn’s per­for­mance in what was a strong Labour cam­paign.”

They are the sec­ond and third Labour coun­cil­lors to rep­re­sent South­port on Sefton Coun­cil, af­ter Tony Crab­tree, who has since re­tired, de­fected from the Con­ser­va­tives in 2014.

Former South­port MP John Pugh said: “Dis­ap­pointed, of course, that af­ter so many Lib­eral Democrats, in­clud­ing Ron­nie Fearn and my­self, have worked hard to get them elected, that they have cho­sen to de­fect.

“The Lib Dem Coun­cil Group was very sup­port­ive, close and sym­pa­thetic dur­ing Cllr Mar­i­anne Welsh’s re­cent and hap­pily suc­cess­ful bat­tle against can­cer, but was never told of these seem­ingly im­por­tant pol­icy dif­fer­ences they cite.

“We still re­main puz­zled as to the Welshs’ ex­act mo­ti­va­tion.

“Cer­tainly, their claim that they found Lib­eral Demo­crat in­come tax pro­pos­als ‘re­gres­sive’ makes ab­so­lutely no sense to any­one who un­der­stands what in­come tax is or ‘re­gres­sive’ means.”

South­port Con­ser­va­tives were also crit­i­cal of the dou­ble de­fec­tion.

Cllr Harry Bliss said: “This does not bode well for the res­i­dents of South­port.

“Sefton Coun­cil’s de­ci­sions show a dis­re­gard for South­port. For ex­am­ple, the coun­cil has in­vested tens of mil­lions of pounds, re­put­edly £32m, in pur­chas­ing a shop­ping cen­tre in Boo­tle, while the coun­cil is un­will­ing to in­vest in resur­fac­ing the red Tar­mac on Lord Street.


Cllr Mar­i­anne Welsh – de­fected from the Lib Dems to the Sefton coun­cil Labour group street is resur­faced about every 15 years and the Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lors be­lieve the ex­tra cost of red Tar­mac over that time rep­re­sents ex­cel­lent value for a town cen­tre in need of in­vest­ment and sup­port. The coun­cil’s de­ci­sion shows a dis­re­gard for South­port and a to­tal lack of un­der­stand­ing of the town’s needs.

“This can­not be blamed on Gov­ern­ment cuts. It is a de­ci­sion made by a re­mote and out-of-touch coun­cil run out of Boo­tle, for Boo­tle.

“The last de­fec­tor to Labour was a Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor who then fol­lowed the Labour Group’s de­ci­sions, in­clud­ing the slash­ing of funds to South­port’s Botanic Gar­dens, which is in the same ward he lives in.

“Res­i­dents be warned ex­pect more of the same from Labour and these de­fec­tors.”

Labour leader of Sefton Coun­cil, Cllr Ian Ma­her, said: “Mar­i­anne and Bill are a wel­come ad­di­tion to the Labour group of coun­cil­lors on Sefton Coun­cil and hope­fully we will have even more Labour col­leagues from South­port join­ing us af­ter the forth­com­ing May elec­tion.”

Cllr Bill Welsh – we found the Lib Dems’ 2017 man­i­festo unin­spir­ing

Puz­zled – former South­port Lib Dem MP John Pugh

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