Lib Dem councillor defects to the Brexit Party six months after joining from Labour

A rosette on the jacket of Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA.

A rosette on the jacket of Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A Lib Dem councillor has defected to the Brexit Party, claiming that their pro-Remain stance goes against her beliefs, despite only joining six months ago.

Rochdale councillor Kathleen Nickson joined the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats from Labour in January 2019, and her defection was celebrated by voices within the party.

She said she was joining the Lib Dems because they "work in the best interest of the people of Rochdale".

Citing allegations of bullying she said she could not go on working in an "undemocratic manner".

"There is no room to have a difference of opinion in the Labour group. I will not simply be told what to do, what to say and how to vote. I want to do the best for the residents in my ward and I simply do not believe that Labour allow me to do that. I will be joining a team of hard-working Lib Dem councillors who work in the best interest of the people of Rochdale."

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She said with the Lib Dems she "will be able to work with integrity and where I will be valued as hard-working female councillor."

But six months later she is on the move again, claiming that pro-Remain stance goes against her values, so instead has joined the Brexit Party.

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But she also insisted a no-deal Brexit, the party's only policy, would be "catastrophic for jobs".

She told the Manchester Evening News: "The national Lib Dem policy of remaining in the European Union is against what I believe in.

"Three years ago we voted, as a country to leave the EU.

"This democratic decision - having been made - has not been honoured by the Tory government and we are now, I believe, facing either a no deal Brexit or not leaving at all.

"The first will be catastrophic for jobs, the second catastrophic for democracy."

She continued: "The number of people in this borough who turn out at elections is very low. If we can leave Europe and honour the result of the referendum, I can look my constituents in the eye.

"They voted to leave and I am representing them in their decision."

Andy Kelly, Lib Dem group leader on Rochdale's council, said: "It sounds like Coun Nixon is a little bit lost politically. She clearly had issues with Labour in Rochdale and a few issues with Lib Dem party politics. If she has found her political home, then I wish her all the best."

Nickson won 52% of the vote in the local elections in May 2018.

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