Two candidates who lost out in the 2019 local elections have called for a by-election after an independent councillor who beat them joined Labour.
Cllr Jeyan Anketell made the switch following the General Election in December – less than a year after winning his seat in the Stowe ward.
But despite insisting he had not misled residents by changing his political allegiances, two of his rivals in the vote last May have said he should let voters decide.
The poll saw Cllr Anketell come in third behind two Conservative candidates and seeing off challenges from others, including independent hopeful Chris Wilkinson and Jon O’Hagan, who had previously held the seat for the Tories.
Both have now called for voters to have a choice about whether Cllr Anketell’s move to Labour is acceptable.
Mr Wilkinson said:
“In my view, all changes to party allegiance must be mandated by the electorate.
“People voted Cllr Anketell in as an independent back in May 2019 – they did not vote for a Labour candidate.
“If democratic principles are to be respected, a by-election in Stowe must be now called.”Chris Wilkinson
His view was echoed by Mr O’Hagan, who said voters may have had a different view had Cllr Anketell stood for his new party at the time.
“I lost that Lichfield District Council seat in May to an independent.
“The people of Stowe would have voted labour if they wanted to support an antisemitic, confused about Brexit party.
“Jayan Anketell should do the decent thing and let Stowe decide in a by-election.”Jon O’Hagan
“Residents were fully informed”
Cllr Anketell told Lichfield Live his position on local issues had not changed, despite his decision to join Labour.
“I asked voters not to support more Conservative cuts and to give me their vote, while sharing remaining ones among progressive candidates in Labour, the Lib Dems and the Green Party.
“So Lichfield residents were fully informed in advance of my stand with regard to supporting Labour and the other progressive parties.
“I am seeking to join the Labour group on both the Lichfield city and district councils as I believe I can more effectively work for the betterment of Lichfeldians in this way.”Cllr Jeyan Anketell