Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
You’ll regret it; defecting councillor is warned
THE former leader of Worcester City Council has warned Labour defector Jabba Riaz he will “regret” his decision.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, who handed Coun Riaz a seat in his Conservative cabinet before being dumped from power back in May, said Tory politicians have been left “shocked” by his decision to join the Labour group.
It has also been revealled that Coun Riaz held secret talks with the Conservative hierarchy about becoming an MP for the party last year.
Coun Riaz held talks with an unknown Tory minister over possibly being parachuted into a parliamentary contest at the next general election, but it went no further.
Coun Geraghty, who now leads the Tory group after spending seven years as city council leader, said: “I’m naturally very disappointed that Coun Riaz has decided to leave the Conservative team and believe in time, he will regret this decision.
“I know many colleagues will be shocked by this move given Jabba’s recent enthusiasm to advocate Conservative plans and continue as a councillor for us. I suspect many constituents will also feel let down. Given his previous statements attacking Labour’s position on a wide range of policies, it is difficult to see how he will be able to fit in with the views of his new party.”
He acknowledged his contribution as part of the old Tory cabinet towards revamping the riverside, freezing council tax and planning the proposed swimming pool at Perdiswell.
Worcester MP Robin Walker said: “He says it’s because he’s got sympathies with Labour, but it’s difficult to prove that.
“It’s a great shame he’s decided to do this – he’s vociferously opposed Labour in the past.”
Coun Riaz has hit back by saying he does not regret his decision – and insisted he was fed up with the Tory-led Government’s “disastrous” cuts.
“There’s no doubt about it, Simon was an excellent leader, he mentored me and I have to be thankful for it,” he said.
“But this didn’t come out the blue, there were valid, logical reasons behind it – how could I push for the party at a local level if I didn’t feel comfortable with its national policies?
“I made the right decision to leave.”
Coun Riaz said the talks about him becoming a Tory parliamentary candidate for 2015 did not go well because of clear political differences with his interviewer.
As your Worcester News revealed yesterday, Coun Riaz told Worcester’s Tory leadership in July that he did not want to contest his current Cathedral ward in next year’s elections.
He tried to swap to the safer seat of Battenhall, but lost out in the selection process just last week, shortly before he announced his switch to Labour.
Comments are closed on this article.