Former leader of Haringey Lib Dems announces switch to Labour

Cllr Sarah Elliott for Crouch End

Cllr Sarah Elliott for Crouch End - Credit: Archant

A Crouch End Liberal Democrat politician has defected to Labour – saying she no longer wants to “heckle from the sidelines”.

Cllr Sarah Elliot, leader of Haringey’s Liberal Democrat group from 2014 to 2015, is joining the majority Labour group in Haringey.

This means there will now be just eight Liberal Democrat councillors against a working majority of 49 Labour councillors making key decisions for the borough.

In a statement, Cllr Elliott said: “It has become increasingly clear to me that the Liberal Democrats on Haringey Council have been too fast to talk our area down and too slow to put together an alternative sensible, strategic and relevant policy platform for local people [...]

“I am someone who cares passionately about social justice and I was very proud to have been appointed as Haringey’s disability champion earlier this year.

“But the truth is that I cannot put that passion into practice on the Lib Dem benches [...]

“I have therefore concluded that I can no longer sit on the opposition benches as a Lib Dem heckling from the sidelines and failing to provide a positive alternative vision of the future [...]

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“I’ve been inspired by the leadership and vision of Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, representing the very best of an open, tolerant London where everyone can succeed [...]

“Furthermore, I’ve also been impressed by what Labour are doing in Haringey, taking tough decisions to move the borough forward and set out a positive vision for the future [...]

“I acknowledge that having served as Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the Council from 2014-2015, this decision may generate more chatter than most.”

The leader of the Lib Dem opposition, Cllr Gail Engert said: “Cllr Elliott has decided to leave the Lib Dems, a united positive party, for an acrimonious Labour party which is in such disarray it is on the verge of splitting. I think many people will find this decision rather odd.

“Haringey Liberal Democrats will continue to hold Labour to account on behalf of local residents, particularly the residents of Crouch End who voted to have a Liberal Democrat councillor 2 years ago. We remain the only opposition to Labour in the borough with our 8 councillors.

“We will fight to gain more councillors at the council elections in 2018 and the Lib Dems will be putting forward a positive vision for the borough in our local manifesto.”