Richard Cox and Jeyan Anketell

A second Conservative councillor has questioned an independent rival’s decision to join the Labour party.

Cllr Jeyan Anketell won his Stowe ward seat at Lichfield District Council in the local elections in May.

But in the wake of the General Election result, the former Lib Dem candidate has now decided to join the red ranks at the local authority.

His actions have been questioned by Cllr Wai-Lee Ho who said the move may have “betrayed” voters, while two other candidates who were beaten in the Stowe ward have called for a by-election.

Conservative colleague Cllr Richard Cox has now added to the calls for Cllr Anketell to put his switch to the voters. He said:

“For the electorate of the Stowe Ward, do they want a Labour party representative? If so would it be more sensible to ask them that question and have a by-election to allow them to make that choice?

“It is not for me to call upon Cllr Anketell to resign – he is absolutely within his right to align himself with which ever political party he wishes.

“But he must be very conscious he was elected as an independent and therefore question his own integrity and conscious accordingly as a decent and respectable person.”

Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council

“I asked voters not to support more Conservative cuts”

Cllr Anketell told Lichfield Live his position on local issues had not changed, despite his decision to join Labour.

He said:

“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, Lichfield District Council

Labour group leader, Cllr Steve Norman, said Cllr Anketell’s decision would boost his party’s voice in Lichfield.

He added:

“Jeyan did stand as an independent in Stowe Ward and has given his reasons for joining Labour and I welcome his decision. 

Cllr Steve Norman, Lichfield District Council

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

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4 Comments

  1. I suspect Cllr Anketell and I were both elected on the back of protest votes by an electorate who were heartily fed with politics last May rather than a specific desire to have independent Councillors.

    Does Cllr Anketell’s move to the Labour group make any difference to the overall make up of the council? No – the Tory majority remains the same. Does Cllr Anketell’s move stop people accessing a councillor if they need one? No – and there are two Tory councillors available in Stowe if people don’t want to talk to a Labour councillor, and a non-Tory for those who’d prefer. Will some people be disappointed to lose an independent councillor? Possibly, but outside the Frog Lane bubble I suspect there’s a whole swathe of the ward who won’t really care one way or the other. Is it all a bit of fuss about something that has little impact? I think so, whilst accepting others have different views!

    I’d question whether being a member of a political grouping will deliver the benefits Cllr Anketell is suggesting given Cllr Norman has been clear that being a member of the Labour group will mean voting in line with the group (or at best abstaining) which has the potential to mean voting against what you believe residents would want or expect, but given the make-up of the council with the block Tory vote the impact of this will be negligible.

    I’m personally disappointed to lose my fellow independent but have no intention to follow his lead, and will carry on as the last independent!

  2. This is the same local Conservatives who were more than happy to co-opt colleagues not so long ago, isn’t it?

    It isn’t as if they have a long and proud tradition of fair play and upholding democratic values.

    Surely there are far more important things for councillors to be discussing and sorting out in Lichfield district? They should spend less time taking their lead from the local MP and more time working to resolve the many significant challenges the local community faces.

  3. And I still am in favour of co-option when there’s a vacancy, which is a different issue to this one. However I feel I must clarify that I said there was nothing wrong in Cllr Anketell’s decision for him to join which ever political party he wishes and certainly have not personally called for his resignation to call a by-election.

    I agree with the comments that it would make no difference to the composition of the District Council and if there is no issue from residents of Stowe Ward then it is right there’s no further debate. Cllr Anketell has made it clear is his response he feels he was elected on a anti-Tory pledge and if that is the case by joining the Labour Party equates to the same thing and so in the world of politics, I do not have an issue with that and therefore completely comfortable and satisfied that he has answered my point of questioning his own integrity and conscious in switching from an elected independent member to be a member of the Labour groups on both Lichfield City and Lichfield District Councils.

    I do not regret entering the debate as it was to draw an opinion on the subject bringing the issue into the arena. Therefore if there’s a genuine case of there’s no issue whatsoever in Cllr Anketell’s decision from the residents of Stowe Ward and they are content with Cllr Anketell as a person then it is absolutely right he should remain as the elected member to represent them.

    Finally may I clarify that my comments are my personal views and opinions and I do not represent the views on behalf of the Conservative Group at LDC who have not made any representation or comment on the subject or indeed not even discussed this subject.

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