The Liberal Democrats have become the biggest party in Burnley after an independent councillor, Sam Holgate, decided to join the party.
The press release from them says:
An independent Burnley councillor for the Rosegrove with Lowerhouse ward has joined the Liberal Democrats after conceding that the Lib Dems have delivered on their promises and begun to make real improvements around town.
Coun Sam Holgate, who won the 2003 election, said, “I was happy as an independent councillor because I didn’t want to be involved in all the party politics. Action is more important than words. But the Lib Dems have been different since they started running the council. I wanted action, and that’s what I got – action. So I decided to join them.”
Council leader and former mayor Coun Gordon Birtwistle said that he was delighted to welcome Coun Holgate to the group. He added, “I’m only interested in having councillors on our team that are prepared to work hard for their wards. Lib Dem councillors work hard all year round, representing the ordinary people of Burnley.”
Coun Holgate said that he was particularly impressed by the way the Lib Dems had lined up three teams of litter pickers, were issuing big fines for fly-tippers and litter louts, and were visiting schools to teach children about keeping Burnley tidy. He also said the Lib Dems had stuck to their promises over the sites for the new schools on Rossendale Road and in Towneley Park.
He said, “It’s still early days for them, but because I’m a councillor, I know what’s coming next, and it’s big – really big. People who fly tip and drop litter won’t know what’s hit them.”
The move takes the total number of Lib Dem councillors to 17, compared to Labour’s 16. This means that Labour continues to have some responsibilities on the Council, putting a brake on what the Lib Dems are able to do.