Elected Lib Dem Greenwich councillor 'first since 2010' after he defected from Labour

Cllr Chris Lloyd shown alongside Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Chris Annous
Cllr Chris Lloyd shown alongside Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Chris Annous -Credit:Greenwich Borough Liberal Democrats

A Greenwich councillor who left the Labour Party late last year has joined the Liberal Democrats, with the local Labour Group asking that he stand down from his position as a result. Councillor Chris Lloyd, who represents the West Thamesmead ward for Greenwich Council, said in a statement on May 21 that he has joined the Liberal Democrats.

The move stands as the first time an elected councillor has represented the Lib Dems in Greenwich since 2010. Cllr Lloyd served as a Labour councillor for nearly ten years before he resigned his party membership in December 2023.

The councillor previously told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that his exit was due to a complaint he made to the group earlier in the year not being 'satisfactorily' progressed or resolved. He stood as an Independent councillor since leaving the party and said in a statement that he was 'delighted' to have joined the Lib Dems.

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Councillor Chris Lloyd, shown at a planning board meeting for Greenwich Council in September 2023
Councillor Chris Lloyd, shown at a planning board meeting for Greenwich Council in September 2023 -Credit:Greenwich Council

Cllr Lloyd said: "Here in Greenwich, the Liberal Democrats are a positive choice for improving public services, protecting vulnerable communities and tackling inequality. Pragmatism has always been an important part of my political outlook, and I wholeheartedly reject the current lurch into populism, both on the left and right."

He added: "It is easy to become disillusioned with politics and the political process, the current Conservative Government has a lot to answer for in that regard. That is why I am making a positive choice to join the Liberal Democrats and play my part in getting a fair deal for Greenwich residents."

The councillor previously confirmed to the LDRS that his current term would be his last and he did not plan to stand for another election. He was first elected in 2014 in the Peninsula ward and has represented the West Thamesmead ward since 2022, while also previously running as a parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party in North Swindon in 2022 and in Brecon & Radnorshire in 2010.

A Greenwich Labour Group spokesperson told the LDRS: "It is disappointing that this former Labour councillor – elected on a Labour ticket just two years ago – has chosen to ignore the democratic decision of his residents and join another party, rejecting the positive manifesto on which he was elected."

They added: "He should do the right thing, stand down and trigger a by-election for West Thamesmead to give local people the opportunity to decide who they wish to represent them."

Cllr Lloyd declined to comment on the Greenwich Labour Group statement. The Lib Dems have not been represented in Greenwich Council since the 2010 election, when the party lost the two seats it had in the Middle Park and Sutcliffe ward. This was also the last time a major political party held seats in the authority outside of the Conservative and Labour parties.

The current composition of Greenwich Council includes 51 Labour councillors, two Conservative councillors, one Lib Dem councillor and an unfilled seat. The by-election to fill the unoccupied Mottingham, Coldharbour and New Eltham seat will take place on June 13 and comes after the death of Conservative Councillor John Hills last month.

Chris Annous, the Lib Dems' parliamentary candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich, said in a statement: "Chris brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience in providing the scrutiny and liberal voice that Greenwich Council needs."

He added: "I look forward to working with Chris to champion the voices of Greenwich residents and to provide the opposition Greenwich and Woolwich deserves at the upcoming General Election where, with the Conservatives in freefall, the Liberal Democrats are the alternative to Labour."

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