Hastings councillor defects from Labour to Green Party

A Hastings councillor has defected to the Green Party, saying she had felt ‘sidelined, gagged and isolated’ by the council’s Labour group.

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 9:44 am
Julia Hilton and Claire Carr

On Friday (December 3),  Castle ward borough councillor Claire Carr announced that she defected from Labour to the Green Party. 

In a letter to residents, Cllr Carr said she had been “sidelined, gagged and isolated” by the Labour group, both “as the mother of a gender non-conforming child” and “a member of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Cllr Carr said: “I have reached the conclusion that I will never be treated fairly or have my voice properly heard on behalf of the residents of Castle Ward if I remain in the Labour Party.

“As the mother of a gender non-conforming child, a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a strong advocate for equality, I have been sidelined, gagged and isolated. 

“As a result of this and other factors, I knew that I had to seriously consider my position in the Labour Party and as a Labour councillor. After much careful thought, I took the sad decision to leave the Labour Party.

“I am delighted to now be a Green Party councillor. I feel I have found my home, because Green Party policies align much more closely to my views and because I now feel accepted and valued as part of a team who are working in the town’s best interest with a spirit of collaboration.

“Please rest assured that I will continue to be a councillor with strong principles who advocates for my residents and our community, except now I am free to speak in the best interests of the people of Castle Ward and Hastings as a whole.”

Cllr Carr’s defection means Hastings Borough Council now has two Green Party councillors.

Cllr Julia Hilton, the authority’s other Green Party councillor, said: “I am delighted that there will now be a Green group – rather than just me as an individual – able to hold Hastings Council to account for their actions.”

Despite Cllr Carr’s defection, Labour remains the authority’s largest group with 18 councillors, while the Conservatives have 12.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Hastings and Rye Constituency Labour Party were delighted that at the last local elections the residents of Castle ward put their faith in Labour and the local Labour manifesto.

“They elected a Labour councillor. That councillor has now left the Labour Party and the residents of Castle ward may feel that this councillor should stand down and offer them the opportunity to elect a Labour councillor again.”