Conservative councillor makes shock switch to Labour, saying he 'can no longer look constituents in the eye' in Milton Keynes Keynes
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The about-face move has come from Cllr Joe Hearnshaw, who was elected in 2021 as a councillor for Stony Stratford ward.
Today (Thursday) he’s announced he is leaving the Tories and has joined the Labour Party, blaming the Conservative government for “abandoning the core values” of the British people.
He said: “Two years ago I stood for election to Milton Keynes council because I wanted to help my local community and deliver for the people of Stony Stratford. I stood as a Conservative candidate, because I thought at the time they were the party who represented British values, were serious about protecting our environment, and crucially could be trusted to manage the economy.
“But in recent months, it has become clear to me that the Conservative Party is unable to deliver on any of these priorities. The Conservative government has engulfed the country into chaos. Liz Truss’ disastrous premiership crashed the economy and worsened the cost of living crisis.
"And now Conservative MPs at Westminster are feuding about who gets a peerage whilst people’s mortgage payments are going through the roof. They have abandoned the British people’s core values, and I am no longer able to look my constituents in the eye and defend the record of the Conservative government.”
Joe added: “That is why I have decided to join the Labour Party. Whilst the Conservatives are in chaos, Keir Starmer and the Labour Party have been putting forward serious, sensible policies that will build a better Britain. Whether it’s the Green Prosperity Plan that will invest in green jobs, or the sensible approach to the economy that will finally deliver economic growth – Labour can be trusted to deliver for the British people.
“I look forward to supporting the Labour-led administration here in Milton Keynes and continuing to stand up for the residents of Stony Stratford ward, whose interests remain my absolute priority.”
Councillor Peter Marland, the Labour leader of Milton Keynes Council has given his consent for the move and is thrilled at the political switch.
He said: “I am delighted that Joe has today joined the Labour Party and become a Labour councillor. He is very welcome in the Labour Group, and we look forward to working with him to continue delivering for the people of Milton Keynes.
“Joe’s decision today is further evidence that the Labour Party is the only serious party of government, and the only one that can be trusted to deliver on the priorities of the British people.”
MK Council is run by a Labour/Lib Dem Alliance as no party has a big enough majority to take control on its own. After the elections in May, Labour had 25 seats, Tories had 17 and Liberal Democrats 15.
MK Conservative Group was “disappointed” at Cllr Hearnshaw’s switch but thanked him for his work and wishes him well.
Group Leader Cllr David Hopkins said: “As Local Conservatives, we all work to better the lives of all our residents in all parts of Milton Keynes and remain committed to challenging the regressive Labour-Lib Dem administration.”