Please may I, first of all, say how glad I am that Audenshaw Councillor Colin White has made up his mind to switch from the Labour Party to the Conservatives on Tameside Council - as I was quite concerned that he might have decided to become an Independent? What surprises me however, is how the Tories could accept him into their party - especially as it's not even four years since they themselves were up in arms following the defection of their own Dukinfield/Stalybridge councillor Dorothy Cartwright to Labour.
"Treason never prospers, for if it does, none dare call it treason" and on that matter Councillor White will be judged by the people of Audenshaw in next year's Local Election? However, it is not the betrayal of one political party on the council for another party that concerns me - but the treason to the voters!For just as the electors of Dukinfield/Stalybridge chose to elect Dorothy Cartwright as their Conservative Councillor in 2008, so the people of Audenshaw chose Colin White to be their Labour representative in 2010. For such councillors to switch parties - at any point - in their term of office is no different to a breach of contract or any refusal to stick to the terms of employment.
My own view is that any councillor who for any reason - whether it be out of conscience, self-interest or from a genuine change in belief - feels unable to continue to remain in the party that the people in that ward voted for, should resign and seek a new contract of employment with those voters through a by-election.Not to seek immediate re-election only brings the whole council into further disrepute and is not - in employment terms - "good practice". So maybe the time has come for Tameside Council to formerly establish a procedure whereby any change of party by any councillor at any point during their term of office triggers an immediate by-election for that ward?
Denton South Independent
3rd October 2013