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Conservative councillor defects to Green Party


A Conservative councillor on Gloucestershire County Council has defected to the Green Party.

Cllr Sue Williams, who has represented Bisley and Painswick division since 2021, joined the Green group at Shire Hall on Friday (May 10). Her defection risks the balance of power for the Conservative administration by reducing their number from 27 to 26 and therefore bringing them under the threshold required for a majority.  

Cllr Williams said her decision had been prompted by having lost faith in the Conservative Party nationally. “Over the past months I have grown increasingly disillusioned and angry and I cannot – morally or ethically – ignore my conflicting views as an individual and as a Conservative Party member. 

“I can no longer defend the Party’s stance on many issues and policies, including the treatment of asylum seekers fearing deportation to Rwanda, and the way the benefits system has been made so very difficult for those in need to navigate.”

Cllr Williams added that she had not taken lightly the decision to resign as a Conservative Councillor, and that she had been “honoured and proud” to represent Gloucestershire as vice-chair of the council. 

“I appreciate that my decision may be a disappointment to those who continue to support the Conservative Party,” she added. “I wish to reassure all residents within my division that I will continue to work hard for the communities I represent.”

She explained why she chose the Green Party. “I want to represent a party that people can trust and I believe that the Greens are a party of integrity. Having studied the Green Party’s priorities, policies and local manifesto – and having asked many questions – I feel very aligned with their policies and vision for the future.

“Green Party councillors are professional, effective and committed to supporting those in need and challenging social injustice. They are environmentally driven, not just in terms of biodiversity, the climate crisis and sustainability, but also in terms of our communities, our shared spaces and developing vibrant economies.”

Cllr Williams’s defection increases the Green group to five. The existing Greens are Cllr Cate Cody (Tewkesbury), Cllr Beki Hoyland (Forest of Dean: Blakeney and Bream), Cllr Chris McFarling (Forest of Dean: Sedbury) and Cllr Chloe Turner (Minchinhampton).

Cllr Cate Cody, Leader of the GCC Green group, said: “All of us have worked with Sue on various committees and we know her to be a councillor who is gentle, compassionate and conscientious. We appreciate her diligence and admire her determination to do the right thing for her constituents, regardless of party politics. We are very happy to welcome her to the Green group.” 

Cllr Cody added: “Following this month’s local elections, the sitting Green in Bisley retained his seat with more votes than the other three candidates combined, while voters in Painswick & Upton elected three Greens, all with large majorities – two of whom replaced Conservatives.”

Cllr Chloe Turner, Green county councillor for Minchinhampton, who also serves on Stroud District Council alongside the Green councillors for Bisley and Painswick & Upton, said: “I’m sure this will have been a difficult decision for Sue, and I respect her greatly for taking a principled stand. I’m delighted to have a fellow Green county councillor in the Stroud area now, and I look forward to working together, especially on our shared aspirations for nature recovery and thriving rural communities.”

Cllr Williams is the second councillor to switch to the Greens in Gloucestershire this year. Cllr Helen Fenton, originally elected to Stroud District Council as a Labour councillor, joined the Green group in February after a spell as an Independent.

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