Thanet Villages councillor quits Conservative Party to defect to Labour

Councillor Abi-Leigh Barlow has quit the Conservatives to join  Labour.

Thanet District Councillor Abi-Leigh Barlow has quit the Conservatives to join  Labour.

Elected last May as a Conservative councillor for Thanet Villages ward she will now sit as a Labour councillor and a member of the majority Labour Group.

Cllr Barlow said: “I joined the Conservative Party because I thought that, after years of chaos, Rishi Sunak would get our country on the right track. But since being elected as a Conservative councillor last May, I have felt increasingly ashamed of the way the Conservative Party is treating the people of Britain.

“The people that I represent, and people around the country, deserve so much more. We need change. And it is clear to me that only the Labour Party and Keir Starmer can bring that change. So I am proud to be joining the Labour Party, and the Labour Group on Thanet District Council, to continue delivering for the people of Thanet.

“I look forward to working hard over the next few months to deliver a Labour government and to change our country for the better.”

Cllr Rick Everitt, Labour Leader of Thanet District Council, said: “I am delighted to welcome Cllr Barlow to the Labour Group today. She is a hard-working local councillor and I look forward to working with her to improve things for the residents of Thanet Villages ward and for everyone in the district.

“This is further proof that the Conservatives no longer represent working people. After 14 years of failure, it is time for change, and the only way to deliver such change is with a Labour administration on Thanet District Council working with a Labour Government in Westminster.”

Thanet’s Conservative group leader Cllr Reece Pugh said: “We are saddened to hear that Cllr Barlow has decided to leave the Conservative Group, we have tried to support her where we can to ensure that this situation didn’t happen.

“However, we made it clear that attendance at council meetings and parish council meetings are vital in being an elected representative and from our understanding, even though the support was there, Cllr Barlow, has not managed to attend the required meetings.

“We are saddened for the residents of Thanet Villages Ward as well – they elected a Conservative councillor to represent them and we believe this should still be so.”

There are currently 56 Thanet district councillors, now made up of: 31 Labour; 16 Conservative; 5 Green; 3 Thanet Independents and 1 Independent.