Labour councillor quits for Greens
A FORMER Labour councillor in north Suffolk has joined the Green Party, giving the group its first ever seat on Waveney District Council.Ann Skipper, who represents constituents in the Whitton ward at Lowestoft, resigned from the Labour group last month and for the past few weeks had been sitting as an independent.
By David Lennard
A FORMER Labour councillor in north Suffolk has joined the Green Party, giving the group its first ever seat on Waveney District Council.
Ann Skipper, who represents constituents in the Whitton ward at Lowestoft, resigned from the Labour group last month and for the past few weeks had been sitting as an independent.
After being a member of the Labour Party for nearly 50 years she said it was a considered decision to leave and join the Greens.
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"This was not a rash decision and has not been an easy move.
"I have fought valiantly for socialism and to stay in the Labour Party – but I have lost. The Green Party is a place I could go, for its social priorities and because it is fair, even and to the point," said Mrs Skipper.
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Prime Minister Tony Blair's attitude to the looming war on the people of Iraq was one of the reasons Mrs Skipper gave for resigning from the Labour Party.
She said her move to the Green Party was "a natural progression" to take as she feels Labour has "completely lost its way".
Mrs Skipper now becomes one of five Green Party councillors serving in the eastern region.
Ingo Wagenknecht, peace and defence spokesperson for the eastern region Green Party, said: "I'm pleased and thankful that Ann has shown such tremendous conviction to change her allegiance after a lifetime of being a Labour supporter.
"We accept her courageous stance against a war with Iraq and hope that she will work with us for the foreseeable future."
Mrs Skipper is likely to be one of hundreds of Green Party candidates standing in the local elections on Thursday, May 1.
Her Lowestoft seat is one of 16 being contested on Waveney District Council and she is likely to face opposition from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates.
Labour leader on Waveney District Council, Brian Hunter, said he had no comment to make on Mrs Skipper's decision to join the Green Party.
Last week Jennifer Hinton withdrew her resignation from the Labour group on Waveney District Council.
Mrs Hinton said she had withdrawn her resignation because it would have also meant resigning from the Labour Party as a whole – something she did not want to do.
"I was given 14 days to make up my mind and with all the support I have had I decided to withdraw my resignation," she said.
The current political make-up of Waveney District Council is:
Conservatives 21 seats, Labour 20, Liberal Democrats 3, Independents 3, Green Party 1.
One third of the seats are being contested in local elections taking place on May 1, with the Conservatives defending eight seats, Labour six, Liberal Democrats one and the Green Party one.