Further to our recent meeting, I am now writing today to inform you that with immediate effect that I have resigned from the Labour Party and therefore the Labour whip on Haringey Council.
I will sit as a Conservative Councillor until the Council elections next May.
For you and many others, this will come as a shock and no doubt many will be upset and angry at my decision.
This has been no easy decision, but I believe that urgent change and a fresh start is needed, both for Haringey and Britain. We need at national level a Government that has a sense of purpose and will speak up for the ordinary person, something which Labour seems to have forgotten in recent years.
As a I mentioned to you, I am proud of a lot of what Labour has achieved both locally and nationally, but the recent months has shown how out of touch Labour is – to busy worrying about what positions people will hold and how much to get for it.
I also feel that now in local government that there is no real accountability. “Cabinet local governance” is a sham of 9-10 councillors deciding on what will happen and the majority group follow like sheep. Councillors have lost the chance to properly hold officers and lead members to account but expected to be there mainly as voting fodder, even at the expense of being able to represent one’s own ward.
For many months now I have felt uncomfortable and not at ease in being a Labour Councillor, but let me be clear, although the Liberal Democrats are currently the main opposition on the council to Labour, they do not offer a real alternative to Labour. Their councillors are mainly a coalition of anti-Labour at any cost. Let me assure you, as a Conservative Councillor I will vote against Labour in the Council Chamber when it is right, not because I am no longer Labour.
You must believe me when I tell you that this is the hardest political decision of my life. I have been proud to be a Labour activist with 27 years unbroken membership, but like almost everyone else seeing Labour MPs trying to make stupid expense claims has left me ashamed as power and corruption seems to have gone to the heads of too many Labour MPs who ought to know better.
I want to make clear, on a personal level I have no dispute with the vast majority of my former Labour colleagues and under your leadership wish them well. However, the run-up to the recent group annual meeting and being asked by some to go for different positions to ensure that I would get extra money left me disgusted. I sincerely hope that people do not think that I am a Councillor for the money, because this is an insult to my integrity and all that I stand for.
As I have said in a letter to local party members, to those who have campaigned for me and voted for me over the years as a Labour candidate and Councillor, I am truly sorry if you feel that I have betrayed your trust. As I have said, this has not been an easy decision, but I want a better way for Haringey and Britain and the Conservatives, under David Cameron’s leadership has changed and recognised its past mistakes and I want to be part of that progressive Conservative alliance that will help the residents of Noel Park and the country that I am not ashamed to say that I love.
Finally, I will continue to serve as a Councillor for Noel Park until next May and put the needs of Noel Park first, be that local residents, residents associations, community and voluntary groups and local businesses, whilst ensuring that the thousands of Conservative voters in Haringey now have a voice on the council.
I hope wherever possible to work with the other two Noel Park Councillors and I will not attempt to put party politics ahead of getting what is best for Noel Park. I may no longer be Labour, but my passion for Noel Park remains as strong today as it ever was.
From the bottom of my heart, thank-you for giving me the chance to serve as a Councillor, as a Labour Councillor, for the friendship and support which has meant so much to me over the years and hopefully when the dust has settled you will come to understand why I have left Labour for the Conservatives today.
With all good wishes,
Councillor Alan Dobbie,
Councillor for Noel Park ward.
Negative comments are welcome, but people have to use their real names with a tracable IP address. If you're not willing to 'play ball', don't waste your time. Hunter.