Yesterday brought the news that one of the Labour councillors for Brixton Hill, Betty Evans-Jacas, had defected to the Conservatives. Lambeth Tories have made a squeaky fanfare of this, with a statement that only showed, if anything, that Betty would say anything to get into the Conservative group, which numbers 6 (and now, obviously, 7).
Betty allegedly said: “After years of agonising over the failure of the leadership of the Labour Party in Lambeth to listen to the residents, faith organisations, and business of Brixton Hill and Lambeth as a whole, I have decided to become a member of the Conservative Party under David Cameron. I believe that under his leadership, I will be able to fulfil all of my duties as a Brixton Hill ward councillor.”
Twaddle. If there is any borough in London that listens, at length, to its residents, faith groups and businesses, it is Labour Lambeth. I know this because I am a Cabinet Member and I see how hard Labour councillors work to keep in touch with the views of residents.
I suspect that Betty is actually speaking about herself – her demands for extra allowances were not listened to because they were immoral, particularly given her reputation as an absentee in Brixton Hill. Leader of the Council Steve Reed explains here. Missing surgeries is hardly a good example of listening.
When she was ill, as she was, seriously – to the extent that the Lib Dem ghouls were leafleting in expectation of a by-election – her Labour colleagues covered for her. When she was not ill, her Labour colleagues found themselves covering for her. She has been a gross disappointment, and she has lost many more friends in the Labour Party than she will ever gain in the Conservative Party, particularly when they realise the baggage of financial embarrassment she brings with her. It will be a dead end for her and a dilemma for the Conservatives.
It’s ludicrous to think, as she appears to, that David Cameron will somehow enable Betty to ‘fulfil all [her] duties as a Brixton Hill councillor’. She has shown no inclination to fulfil those duties as a councillor of any party, which is why she was replaced at a selection meeting last week.
She has been judged shrewdly by her Town Hall peers, Labour Group, over the years since 2006, and at every group election she has failed to be elected for every council post she has stood for – all of which have involved allowances. Now this grasping would-be politician has failed the people who voted for her in Brixton Hill. She should be ashamed.
Labour Group is not ashamed to be rid of her. Her valueless, shifting political mind suits the Tories.