The crossing of the chamber at Boston Borough Council by a former Labour councillor has been welcomed in Parliament.
The MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman stood in Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (Wednesday), and asked ministers to welcome Nigel Welton, now a Conservative, to the party.
He said: “This week one of Labour’s last two remaining councillors in Boston crossed the floor to join the Conservative party.
“He said that he did not want to see the country go back to 1973.
“Will the First Secretary join me in welcoming this new member to the Conservative party, and does he agree that an open, optimistic Britain deserves better than reheated Marxism and Labour’s bankrupt economy?”
First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office Damian Green agreed with Mr Warman and said Mr Welton had shown ‘wisdom’ through the move.
He said: “What we hear from Labour Members shows that a Labour Government would lose control of public finances and hike taxes to their highest ever peacetime level.
“I have discovered a new quotation—the shadow Chancellor called business ‘the enemy’. That is what the modern Labour party is about.
“Let me also point out that the local councillor may just have moved in anticipation. I understand that moderate councillors are being deselected by the hard left of the Labour party.”
Coun Nigel Welton, told The Standard on Tuesday: “The way the Labour party is going is not the way I want to be, so I made the decision to move.
“The direction just doesn’t fit with what I’m doing and the good stuff I’m trying to do.”
“I don’t want to go back to 1973,” he added.
Mr Welton described himself as ‘far right’ of the Labour party and left of the Conservatives.
He said: “The step was not far to make.”
Coun Welton said he had spoken to Coun Gleeson, who has joined the Independents on the council due to rules which say a party must have two people to become a group and sit on committees, prior to leaving.
He said: “I met with Paul and I chose not to leave the group until he had sorted out what he needed to do.
“He could have continued as a group of one, however, it’s beneficial to the council that he continues doing the good work he does on scrutiny.
“For the good of the council and the good of the people he needs to keep doing the good work he is doing.”
Coun Gleeson has joined the Independent Group on Boston Borough Council, and said he did so in order to ‘still represent constituents’ on committees after his party counterpart switched allegiance to the Tories.
However, Coun Gleeson told The Standard that he was still a fully paid-up member of the Labour Party.
He explained that under council rules, groups cannot exist without at least two people, and that Coun Welton’s decision to join the Tories would have left him without seats on committees as it leaves the authority with no Labour group.
Under Boston Borough Council rules unaligned or lone councillors cannot take seats on scrutiny committees - leaving them with only Full Council debates to have their say.
Coun Gleeson said; “I’m still a member of the Labour party, however, the Independents have kindly agreed to let me join them for the purposes of seat allocation.
“I believe it would be very hard to represent my ward properly if I could not sit on committees.
“If I was solo, the only chamber would be ull council and that doesn’t have any proper decision making.”
Coun Gleeson confirmed he had approached the Labour Party bosses for this region and asked for permission for the move, which had been approved.
Coun Gleeson will be taking seats on the Corporate and Community Committee and Licensing/Regulatory and Appeals Committee.