A Solihull Liberal Democrat has become the fourth councillor to defect to the Green Party in disapproval at the party’s performance in the Coalition Government.
Elmdon councillor Jean Hamilton has joined the Greens, giving them seven seats now on Solihull Council – one more than Labour. She follows councillors Howard Allen, Andy Hodgson and Tim Hodgson who have defected since 2011.
Coun Hamilton said: “I have been extremely disappointed with many decisions agreed to by the Liberal Democrats in coalition, on vital issues such as education, the NHS, welfare support and the environment.”
She said with national and European elections approaching, she felt she could no longer campaign for policies she does not agree with.
Despite the defections, Solihull Lib Dem group leader Coun Ian Hedley claimed he had “no concerns” over losing more local members.
“I’m obviously sorry that Jean has gone. The positive for us is that we remain the official opposition at Solihull Council,” said Coun Hedley, who claimed the party had achieved much of what they set out to do in Government.
“You’ve got to look at the difference at being in opposition when you have free rein and opposition when you are in Government. A Coalition means you don’t always get it your own way.
“We’ve made tremendous progress on things that we wanted to do and we have torn down the more extreme things the Tories wanted to do.”
The Tories remain the ruling party of Solihull Council, with 28 councillors, while the Lib Dems are in opposition with 9 and Labour has dropped to fourth place with just 6.
Green group deputy leader, Will Duckworth, said they are hoping to take further seats: “Some pundits say the Green Party could even become the main opposition in May. If the last local election results are repeated, this will become a reality.”