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Shock as Tory councillor switches to city's Labour group

Worcester Editorial 14th Oct, 2013 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A LEADING figure in the city’s Conservative party has made a shock decision to switch to the Labour group.

Coun Jabba Riaz, who represents the Cathedral ward in Worcester, has this morning (Monday) formally tendered his resignation from the Tory party.

The decision to join Labour comes after Coun Riaz said he felt “uncomfortable” about where the party was heading and he believes David Cameron had created “disastrous policies” which were impacting on his ward.

Coun Joy Squires, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the city, was delighted to welcome Coun Riaz on board and she felt the switch could be key to Labour regaining Worcester’s parliamentary seat from the Tories at the 2015 General Election.

“Coun Riaz is a fantastic local campaigner, who throughout the time he has been on the council has always stood up for local people,” she said.

“Coun Riaz has recognised what many in Worcester have known for a long time, that David Cameron and his Tory-led Government are out of touch with local peoples’ priorities and that Labour are the only party with the policies to get people through these tough times.”

Coun Adrian Gregson, leader of Worcester City Council, added: “I’ve been on the opposite side of the council chamber to Coun Riaz and have always recognised that he is conscientious councillor who above all else puts his constituents first.

“I am pleased to welcome such an able, talented and well-respected Coun as Jabba Riaz to the Labour ranks.”

But Coun Riaz said in letter to the president of the Worcester Conservative Association, it was not a decision he took lightly having served as a Tory councillor for the past three years.

“For a long time now I have been uncomfortable with the direction of the Conservative party,” he said.

“I am a local councillor who has always put the needs of Cathedral ward first, but it is clear that Conservative policies are now harming those I represent. I believe I can better serve cathedral ward and this city as a Labour councillor.”

For more reaction and coverage see Friday’s Worcester Standard.

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