Councillor James Lancaster has left the Conservative Party and joined the Labour Party, accusing Rishi Sunak and the Conservative government of making things worse for his constituents.
First elected in 2019 as a councillor for Tattenhoe ward, and recently re-elected in May 2023, Councillor Lancaster has become the second Milton Keynes Conservative councillor to quit the party and join Labour in less than a fortnight.
Councillor James Lancaster said:
“Serving as a councillor for my community in Tattenhoe is one of the greatest honours of my life. I have always done my best to speak up for local residents and fight for what they deserve. In 2019 when I first stood for election to the City Council, it was as a Conservative candidate because I believed that they were the party that could deliver prosperity and opportunity for all.
“But the past few years have shown only that the Conservatives are the party of chaos. Inflation is soaring. Mortgage prices are rocketing. The cost of living crisis, the flames of which were fanned by Liz Truss’ mini-budget, has only worsened under Rishi Sunak. And yet Conservative MPs in Westminster have spent more time recently arguing over parties and peerages than tackling the many problems facing the British people.
“In the recent local election campaign I was just about able to defend the record of the ‘Local Conservatives’ (as we were called, to try and distance ourselves from the Conservative government). But the final straw for me was the disgraceful response to the video of Conservative staff drinking and dancing at a Christmas party in breach of Covid lockdown rules. Rishi Sunak has shown a shameful lack of leadership, and I am no longer prepared to defend the Conservative Party to the public. They are no longer fit to govern, and it is time to make way for someone else who can.
“That is why I am today joining the Labour Party. Keir Starmer has changed the Labour Party into a serious government-in-waiting. On the economy, on the NHS, on crime, on the cost of living – the Labour Party has been putting forward sensible solutions that will address the needs of our country. Labour, under Keir Starmer’s leadership, can absolutely be trusted to deliver for the British people.
“I look forward to joining the Labour Group on Milton Keynes City Council and supporting the Labour-led administration, and will continue to speak up for and fight for the residents of Tattenhoe ward, who it is my great honour to serve.”
Councillor Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, said:
“James has always had a reputation as an excellent ward councillor, and I am delighted that he has decided to join the Labour Party. He is very welcome in the Labour Group and I know he will be a valuable part of the Labour team in the city.
“James is now the second former Conservative councillor so far to join Labour – further evidence that the Labour Party is the only party able to govern in the interests of the British people.”
Milton Keynes Conservative Group are disappointed that Cllr James Lancaster has chosen to join the Labour Party as part of the ruling Progressive Alliance at MK City Council just some seven weeks after being re-elected as a Conservative councillor.
As Local Conservatives, we all work to better the lives of all our residents in all parts ofMilton Keynes and remain committed to calling out and challenging the policies of the current Labour-Lib Dem administration.
Group Leader Cllr David Hopkins said: “I am sorry to have received James’ resignation from the Conservative Group but wish him well in his time as a Labour Councillor and thank him for his work over a number of years whilst a member of the Conservative Party and Council Group”
Tattenhoe Ward Cllrs Shazna Muzammil and Manish Verma added “Whilst we respect James Lancaster’s decision to join the Labour Party, our focus remains unwavering- to support and serve the residents of Tattenhoe, ensuring their needs and concerns are heard and addressed. We would like to extend our thanks in advance, to the residents for their trust and support throughout this transition. As stated previously, our priority has always been to support our residents and we will carry on doing that.”