East Riding Conservative councillor defects to Liberal Democrats group at annual meeting

East Riding Conservative councillor Charlie Bayram defected to the Liberal Democrats at the council’s annual meeting last Thursday (May 12).

By Joe Gerrard (Local Democracy Reporting Service)
Monday, 16th May 2022, 11:35 am
Liberal Democrat leader Cllr David Nolan said the defection was historic as Cllr Bayram is thought to be the first Conservative to defect to the party in the authority’s history.
Liberal Democrat leader Cllr David Nolan said the defection was historic as Cllr Bayram is thought to be the first Conservative to defect to the party in the authority’s history.

Cllr Bayram left the ruling group for the opposition and claimed East Riding Council was undemocratic, referring to claims from on the authority published this year.

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr David Nolan said the defection was historic as Cllr Bayram is thought to be the first Conservative to defect to the party in the authority’s history.

A Conservative group spokesperson said they were saddened by his departure but added it came after he failed to be re-selected to stand for the party in his Howden ward.

The defection leaves the Conservatives with 44 councillors, while Liberal Democrats now number 11.

It follows the victory of Liberal Democrat Cllr Margaret Corless in South Hunsley in April after the Conservative vote crumbled in one of its heartlands.

Cllr Bayram won re-election in Howden most recently in all out polls in 2019, with 41.6% of the vote.

Liberal Democrat Emma Dolman came third with 10.8%, behind Green Angela Stone with 38.3%.

Cllr Bayram said he was unhappy with recent planning decisions regarding Howden but was also concerned about revelations from a Local Government Association (LGA) report made public earlier this year.

They included claims that the council was inward looking and that power was concentrated in the hands of senior officers.

But it all stated the leadership of Cllr Jonathan Owen was getting to grips with political priorities and an action plan responding to the claims has also been drawn up.

Cllr Bayram said: “I have given this much thought and I feel the Council is not democratic.

“It is too dominated by a small number of Councillors taking all the decisions and the officers just run rings around them.

“Change is needed and the Liberal Democrats are the only ones trying to hold the Council to account.”

Cllr Nolan said the defection could signal a seismic shift to the Liberal Democrats ahead of the next local elections slated for May 2023.

The opposition leader said: “Cllr Bayram is a long-standing and experienced councillor and works hard for his residents.

“He brings a lot of expertise on planning matters to the group.

“We know that one or two Conservative councillors are feeling uneasy about elections next year and are putting out feelers.”

The Conservative group’s spokesperson said they thanked Cllr Bayram for his work.

The spokesperson said: “We are saddened and disappointed that Cllr Charlie Bayram, after many years of service for the residents of Howden and Howdenshire, has decided to step down from the Conservative Party.

“This follows the decision not to approve him to stand as a candidate in the 2023 local elections made by his local association.

“This democratic decision was made by local Conservative Party members.

“We regret the loss of Charlie as a member from our Conservative Group on the council and wish him well.”