Former Tory man gets Labour nod to contest city council seat

Councillor Jabba Riaz: Labour candidate in Cathedral

Councillor Jabba Riaz: Labour candidate in Cathedral

First published in News
Last updated
Worcester News: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

A WELL-KNOWN Worcester councillor who stunned the city's Conservatives by dumping the party has been confirmed as Labour's election candidate for a vital seat.

Jabba Riaz, one of Worcester's most controversial political figures, will be contesting his Cathedral ward seat for Labour after party selectors gave him the nod.

It means Cllr Riaz will be pitted against former Conservative colleague Francis Lankester, a former Cathedral councillor himself who lost his seat in 2012 after 13 years in the role.

Tensions between the duo have already kicked off, with Mr Lankester saying Cllr Riaz's actions "gives democracy and politics a bad name".

Cllr Riaz resigned from the Tories in October after failing in a bid to switch to the safer seat of Battenhall for this summer's elections.

But the politician, a former Conservative cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, told your Worcester News he is proud to stand for Labour.

Mr Lankester, who lives in Diglis, said: "He was first selected for us as a young man with Conservative views - I find it difficult to see how that could change in just a few weeks.

"Of course people who have talent ought to stand for the council, he's a talented man, but nobody is indispensable and what he's done is wrong.

"It gives politics and democracy a bad name."

Mr Lankester also took a swipe at the Labour leadership at the city council, calling decisions like cutting £10,000 from playgrounds and reducing street sweeping "ludicrous, damaging and stupid".

Cllr Riaz has always maintained he would have switched to Labour anyway, saying he became fed up of the Coalition Government's cuts.

He said: "I'm pleased the Labour Party has shown faith in me and am extremely grateful, we've got on like a house on fire and the work ethic is excellent.

"I'll be standing on my track record - when I was elected I had three objectives to push for, the improvements to Fort Royal Park, protecting CCTV and completing the riverside.

"When it comes to the (Labour and old Tory) administrations, when I was with the Conservatives there were things we could have done differently."

He also attacked the Tories for its decision to stop Cllr Aubrey Tarbuck, 83, from standing in St Peter's this year.

As your Worcester News revealed last week, Cllr Tarbuck says he is quitting the city's Tories this month after the fall-out.

"I'm disgusted what they've done to him," he said.

Cllr Riaz has a majority of 506 in Cathedral, with the seat considered a vital one in deciding which party controls the city council.

Due to his own personal popularity, and with Cathedral consistently returning a solid Labour vote, he is considered the favourite.

Comments (4)

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2:07pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Truepear says...

It surprises me that the Worcester News considers Councillor Riaz as favourite. Since his switch, the popularity he had has been totally eroded. It is felt in the ward, notably in the asian community, he lacks credibility. Reading previous WN reports about the circumstances of his switch i can see why. It is felt he is only in it for self advancement and political views/Parties and the people he represents are irrelevant. WN seems to been also forget that the Tories were dominant in the Cathedral Ward until very recently, Mr Lancaster is very well respected and a seasoned politician in the ward. Traditionally, the bank of votes in the ward has been Tory and i see it going that way again.
It surprises me that the Worcester News considers Councillor Riaz as favourite. Since his switch, the popularity he had has been totally eroded. It is felt in the ward, notably in the asian community, he lacks credibility. Reading previous WN reports about the circumstances of his switch i can see why. It is felt he is only in it for self advancement and political views/Parties and the people he represents are irrelevant. WN seems to been also forget that the Tories were dominant in the Cathedral Ward until very recently, Mr Lancaster is very well respected and a seasoned politician in the ward. Traditionally, the bank of votes in the ward has been Tory and i see it going that way again. Truepear
  • Score: 12

2:19pm Mon 17 Mar 14

The Provincial Vindicator says...

Nothing more than a self-advancing Quisling.

Hope his vote collapses as people see right through his frankly transparent attempts at leaping on the gravy train he so obviously seems to crave.
Nothing more than a self-advancing Quisling. Hope his vote collapses as people see right through his frankly transparent attempts at leaping on the gravy train he so obviously seems to crave. The Provincial Vindicator
  • Score: 13

4:37pm Mon 17 Mar 14

bigrat says...

A self-advancing Quisling seems to be an appropriate description (although I have to admit to looking up the word Quisling!).

The statement that "Cllr Riaz resigned from the Tories in October after failing in a bid to switch to the safer seat of Battenhall for this summer's elections" says it all. Threw his toys out the pram because he wasn't given a safer seat.

I am astonished and disappointed that the Labour Party should give the nod to such a self promoting Quisling. What goes around comes around.
A self-advancing Quisling seems to be an appropriate description (although I have to admit to looking up the word Quisling!). The statement that "Cllr Riaz resigned from the Tories in October after failing in a bid to switch to the safer seat of Battenhall for this summer's elections" says it all. Threw his toys out the pram because he wasn't given a safer seat. I am astonished and disappointed that the Labour Party should give the nod to such a self promoting Quisling. What goes around comes around. bigrat
  • Score: 10

1:14pm Tue 18 Mar 14

Jabbadad says...

Well with the obvious Tories comments on here, will they be commenting on ex Labour Coun Baylis who did exactly the same over the Arbouretum Ward and has been rewarded by a Tory County Council seat and now the meteoric rise to Deputy Leader of the City Conservative group, leap frogging past some Tory councilors who have served the pary for many a year.

KETTLE POT BLACK EH?

And of course all Riaz has to do is to appeal to the Asian Vote in the Cathedral Ward, which Franky managed to lose and as yet not re-gained
Well with the obvious Tories comments on here, will they be commenting on ex Labour Coun Baylis who did exactly the same over the Arbouretum Ward and has been rewarded by a Tory County Council seat and now the meteoric rise to Deputy Leader of the City Conservative group, leap frogging past some Tory councilors who have served the pary for many a year. KETTLE POT BLACK EH? And of course all Riaz has to do is to appeal to the Asian Vote in the Cathedral Ward, which Franky managed to lose and as yet not re-gained Jabbadad
  • Score: -5

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