Labourlist readers may remember reading in July that Councillor Sharron Brook, Lib Dem on Barnsley MBC, had put out an interesting issue of Focus.
This was, in many ways a principled way to approach a personal political dilemma. Having been elected to represent a party on a range of issues, only to find that they betray you, many people have simply walked the floor. Cllr Brook took the view that it was not a decision for her alone but for the people who had elected her too.
Well, the results are in, and I can report that this morning (Monday, September 13th) Cllr Brook left the LibDems and became a member of the Labour Party. Or as she has herself said, the LibDems have left her – a feeling common to many LibDems, particularly in South Yorkshire.
What this means is that, for the first time anyone can remember, there are now no LibDem members on Barnsley MBC. She was the last. Labour has gone from a majority of just one before May to a majority of thirteen today.
Significantly though, this is more than a simple defection, no matter how principled many of those are. By consulting with her constituents, Sharron Brook has gained a mandate for her move.
Many will dismiss this as small potatoes. It is after all in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire, where Labour has always been strong and true to our values.
Consider this though, every parliamentary seat in South Yorkshire is Labour held, except for one last LibDem. You might know him; he’s in a Sheffield seat. Fingers crossed that a precedent has been set here in Barnsley.