Local councillor switches parties
By Sarah Wood | 20th November 2023
The Liberal Democrats have welcomed a former Labour councillor to their ranks in Gloucester.
Cllr Usman Bhaimia, who represents Barton and Tredworth ward, quit over Sir Keir Starmer's comments on the Israel-Gaza conflict. He becomes the 13th Lib Dem councillor on Gloucester City Council.
He formally joined the party ahead of a meeting of the city council on November 16.
Councillor Bhaimia quit the Labour Party last month, after Sir Keir told LBC radio that "Israel has the right" to withhold power and water from the Gaza strip.
Cllr Bhaimia said: "I am happy to rejoin the Liberal Democrat group. They are doing a great job of constructive opposition on the council and are challenging the Conservatives effectively.
"The Lib Dems are clearly going from strength to strength. I believe the community in Barton and Tredworth will benefit from my membership of the group."
Cllr Bhaimia has been a councillor for 20 years. He was first elected as a Liberal Democrat, but switched to Labour during the years of the Coalition.
Cllr Jeremy Hilton, leader of Gloucester Liberal Democrats, said: "It's great to welcome Usman Bhaimia back as a member of the Liberal Democrat group. Usman has always been a liberal at heart.
"We are now a group of 13 and clearly the strongest opposition to the Tories on the city council."
The Conservatives run the administration with 22 councillors. The Liberal Democrats are the official opposition party.
Copyright 2023 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.