Liverpool

Wirral Lib Dem Steve Niblock defects to Labour Party

Councillors Steve Foulkes and Steve Niblock
Image caption Steve Niblock (right) said "enough was enough"

A Liberal Democrat councillor in Wirral has defected to the Labour Party.

Steve Niblock, who represents Bromborough, said he was "deeply unhappy" with the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition both locally and nationally.

He said in a statement the government had been doing "too much (very badly) too fast" and that "enough was enough".

Councillor Tom Harney, Leader of Wirral Liberal Democrat Group, said the matter would be discussed at a meeting on Tuesday.

Councillor Steve Foulkes, leader of the Labour group, said he was very happy and that he had "a number of beliefs and principles in common" with Mr Niblock.

The defection leaves just nine Lib Dems on the council.

The group's previous leader Simon Holbrooke was one of those who lost his seat in the recent election, which left Labour the largest single party.

'Desertion of principles'

Mr Niblock said: "There is only so much that someone on the progressive or radical Left can take.

"The appalling desertion of liberal principles to the support of rabid Tory policies which have resulted in the trebling of university tuition fees, bankers bonuses not being controlled, the cuts to the EMA to support young people staying on at school, the decimation of local government, threats to 'flog off' our forests and the whole mess that the Coalition is in over the NHS was just too much.

"Yes, the country was in a mess, but so was most of the developed world due to the banking crisis that started in the States. The Coalition has been doing too much (very badly) too fast."

Mr Foulkes added: "From working with the Liberal Democrats on Wirral in the past, I know that we have a number of beliefs and principles in common.

"I do not think that Steve is the only one to feel betrayed by their national leadership and deeply uncomfortable with the direction their party is taking."

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