AN INDEPENDENT Sheffield councillor has joined Labour - in a move that further strengthens the ruling group’s grip on power.
Coun Frank Taylor, who has represented Gleadless Valley since 2008, was elected as a Liberal Democrat but quit the party after a fall-out with its leadership. He rejected overtures to re-join the Lib Dems last year after the then ruling group lost its overall majority.
Coun Taylor said: “People in Gleadless Valley are being hit really hard by the cuts that are coming from the Tory-Lib Dem Government and I am delighted to be joining Labour as they work to protect Sheffield from the onslaught from Government.”
The move sees Labour’s majority strengthened from 14 to 16. It now has 50 councillors to the Lib Dems’ 32 and two Greens.
Coun Taylor faces re-election next year in a seat which Labour has won for the last two years.
But it is not certain he will be Labour’s candidate in 2012 because it is up to Gleadless Valley Labour Party to decide - and sitting councillors have been deselected on previous occasions.
Leader Coun Julie Dore said: “I would like to welcome Frank to the Labour Group, it is pleasing to see that people are coming back to Labour as we begin to take this city in a new direction. Labour will stand up for Sheffield and offer a stark contrast from the three wasted years of the Liberal Democrats.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Lib Dem opposition leader, said: “Coun Taylor has voted with Labour on several occasions, so his move is no surprise. It is up to him to make his choices.”