Councillor defects to Labour

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A BURNLEY Lib-Dem councillor has left the party to join the town’s Labour group.

Coun. Arif Khan, ward councillor for Queensgate, said he reached the hardest decision of his political life after becoming “disillusioned” with the Lib-Dems.

The councillor, who was elected to Burnley Council in 2007, said: “I have been actively involved in the Liberal Democrat Party for the last 16 years, serving as a councillor in Daneshouse and Stoneyholme and now Queensgate.

“I am deeply disappointed in the manner in which the Liberal Democrats have performed nationally and locally in Burnley. I feel betrayed by the party’s U-turn on its policies and its uncompromised support for the Conservative Party. I am disappointed with the party’s actions since the election as many Lib-Dem voters are.”

But Burnley’s Lib-Dems hit back, accusing Coun. Khan of failing voters.

Local Lib-Dem chairman Coun. Darren Reynolds said: “We had complaint after complaint from local residents that they never saw Coun. Khan and had no idea what he was doing. We pushed him and pushed him. Ultimately, our pressure was just too much and he has defected to Labour. Good luck to them.”

Coun. Khan slammed the “savage cuts” being made by the Coalition Government.

“I am disillusioned by the Coalition Government’s proposed actions and feel they will hit the poorest and most vulnerable very hard. Places like Burnley will be damaged by this coalition. Moreover, I am disappointed the Lib-Dems have failed to deliver on their election promises. They have seriously misled the residents of Burnley regarding the Accident and Emergency and children’s ward at Burnley General Hospital. I am disgusted by this betrayal.”

Coun. Wajid Khan, secretary of Daneshouse and Queensgate Labour Party branch, said: “I have spoken many times to Coun. Arif Khan. I can attest to his personal commitment to Labour Party values and regard him a man of honour and integrity. He passionately wants to do the right thing for his constituents.”

Mr Peter Pike, chairman of Burnley Labour Party, said: “I have known Coun. Khan since working with him at Mullards. He is a man of great integrity and feels bitterly let down by the Lib-Dem Party. I am therefore delighted to welcome him formally to the Labour Party.”