Solihull Green councillor in shock defection to Tories as General Election race gathers pace

Councillor Bernatte Donnelly
-Credit: (Image: Solihull Council)


A Green councillor has joined the Conservatives on Solihull Council, it has been announced. The shock defection of Councillor Bernatte Donnelly has strengthened the Tories hold on Solihull Council.

The leader of the Green group on the authority says he is “disappointed” by the move announced on Thursday morning, (June 6). Councillor Ian Courts, Solihull Council’s leader, revealed the news in a social media post writing: "I am delighted to announce the Conservative group at Solihull Borough Council has approved a request by Coun Donnelly to join the Conservative Group.

“Bernadette, who represents the Kingshurst and Fordbridge ward, will be a wonderful addition to our already dynamic and hard-working team. She has shown tremendous passion for representing her residents on many issues, and the borough as a whole.

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“Bernadette has commented that, in recent months, it has become clear she feels that the Conservative Party have the vision, passion and commitment necessary to deliver for Solihull borough and its residents. We all look forward to working with Bernadette, and I know she can't wait to continue her hard work alongside her new colleague in Kingshurst and Fordbridge, Councillor David Cole."

Cllr Donnelly was elected as a Green in the 2022 local elections beating David Cole in that election by just 32 votes. With the timing of the announcement it is unclear if the general election has played in a part in Coun Donnelly's decision.

Cllr Donnelly - who sits on the Economic Development, Managed Growth and Skills Scrutiny Board and the Stronger Communities and Neighbourhood Services Scrutiny Board - was approached for comment by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS). The LDRS had no response before our deadline.

-Credit:Sam Greenway LDR
-Credit:Sam Greenway LDR

Councillor Max McLoughlin, the leader of the Green group on the authority, said: “We are disappointed by Coun Donnelly changing party. We thank her for her work in the community. Green councillors in Solihull will continue to work hard for the community.”

In a further blow Councillor Stephen Rymer, who was originally elected to Chelmsley Wood in 2022 as a Green councillor, now sits as an independent according to Solihull Council’s website. It means with the defection the Tories now have 31 councillors.

The Green Party remains the main opposition party but are on the reduced number of nine. The Liberal Democrats have eight councillors; there are two independents with Labour having one councillor on the authority.

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