A Labour councillor on Rother District Council who defected to the ruling Conservatives has been accused of ‘letting down’ his constituents by his former political party.
Maurice Watson switched allegiances to the Tories because he felt he could better serve his Sidley ward residents if he was involved with those in charge.
Bexhill and Battle Labour party chairman Tim Macpherson criticised the outgoing Bexhill mayor for not opposing Conservative policies and not promoting his ‘less fortunate’ constituents.
“Councillor Maurice Watson was elected to represent the interests of the residents of Sidley,” he said.
“As a Labour Councillor, he was expected to oppose the more unreasonable policies of the ruling Conservative group.
“I believe he has now fundamentally let down those residents of Sidley who elected him to work on their behalf.
“It is also clear from his voting record that he has failed to actively promote the well-being of the less fortunate residents of Sidley, Bexhill and Rother.”
Cllr Watson told the Observer he expected the Labour party to be angry with his decision but he felt that being a representative of the community and doing what is best for residents is more important than politics.
Council leader Carl Maynard suggested the political role some members of the Labour party wanted Cllr Watson to carry out was making him feel ‘uneasy’.
Mr Macpherson said the values of the Labour party and supporting the community go ‘hand-in-hand’ before accusing Cllr Watson of not standing up to ‘vicious’ Tory cuts.
“Labour has numerous local councillors in Hastings who stand up for their communities and look after their interests,” he said.
“There’s no conflict between promoting Labour values and supporting local residents and communities. The two go hand in hand.
“Many people need councillors to stand up for them against the most vicious cuts to essential services being imposed by the Conservatives.
“Cllr Watson has repeatedly been unwilling to do that.”
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