28 February 2017
The Green Party in Exeter have gained their first city councillor, following the defection from Labour by Alphington councillor, Chris Musgrave. Councillor Musgrave says he has been drawn to the Green Party because of their deep-seated commitment to openness and transparency in local government, something he says is ‘in short supply with the current Labour administration.’
Councillor Musgrave says he has become increasingly disillusioned with a ‘small clique making decisions behind closed doors’ and a refusal by the Labour group to accept proper scrutiny in decision making. He also accuses the Labour-run council of ignoring the results of public consultations, Cllr Chris Musgrave said:
“Openness and transparency is in short supply in the local Labour Party. Major decisions are increasingly made by a small clique behind closed doors with the majority of councillors locked out of the process. Whenever I have challenged the Labour Party and Labour-led council on major decisions – which is exactly what I believe I should be doing as an elected Councillor – I have been told in no uncertain terms to be quiet.
“I have become convinced that the best way I can serve the residents of my ward is by joining the Green Party, which is clearly committed to open and transparent local government. I have also become increasingly convinced that the Greens have the right policies for protecting public services, safeguarding our local environment and tackling the city’s rising inequality.
“The Tories seem incapable or unwilling to challenge Exeter Labour, so it will be up to the Green Party to hold the Labour Party to account. As the city’s first Green councillor, I intend to do just that.”
Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, has expressed her delight that Exeter has its first Green councillor. She said:
“Great news for Exeter! The South West is the strongest region of the country for Greens. This defection builds on resounding wins in recent local elections in Weymouth and the Forest of Dean – where Greens unseated a UKIP councillor. People across the region are coming to realise that the Green Party offers effective opposition and a clear alternative vision to business as usual”.
Caroline Lucas MP, co-leader of the Green Party, who studied as an undergraduate at Exeter University, said:
“It’s great that Exeter now has a Green councillor to hold the Labour run council to account. Greens are committed to working hard for their communities and fighting the corner of local people. This defection will strengthen our local party and puts us in good stead to win further seats in the coming years.”