The Labour Party will once again have a seat at County Hall, as Whippingham-Osborne’s Councillor switches from the Island Independents.
Julia Baker-Smith says her ward has been badly hit by austerity and government policy, citing the closure of the Studio School.
Councillor Baker-Smith was former leader of the Independents, which is now headed up by Councillor Ian Stephens.
Labour had been left with no representative after Councillor Geoff Brodie’s resignation from the party. Councillor Brodie now stands at an Independent Labour Councillor.
In a statement Cllr Baker-Smith said:
“I want to have the opportunity to make my voice heard in a party that stands for social justice and against Conservative austerity at a national level.
The Whippingham and Osborne Ward that I represent has been badly hit by austerity and government policy, as we are now seeing with the threatened closure of the Studio school. Osborne is one of the most deprived areas on the Island so it is the right thing to do to give local residents a voice in policy set beyond the Island.”
“I am forever grateful to Councillor Ian Stephens for his support and mentorship over the last five years and of course to my Island Independent colleagues. I look forward to continuing to work with them and all opposition Councillors to hold the IWC administration to account and support Island residents.”
Island Labour Chair, Mark Chiverton, said :
“We are very pleased to welcome Julia to the Labour Party. She is a hard-working and popular councillor, and represents an area of the island where there is significant support for Labour. We look forward to working with her to further the interests of her ward and of the Labour Party on the
“On our Island, for too long in the past, effective and dedicated individuals like Julia have perhaps felt that an open affiliation to the Labour Party might not help give them the opportunity to serve their communities. At the 2017 General Election, Labour’s largest vote for sixty years on the island made it very clear that the only serious opposition to the Conservative Council delivering Conservative government cuts,is the Labour Party.”
LISTEN: Isle of Wight Radio’s Lauren Roberts speaking to Julia Baker-Smith this morning (Wednesday).