COUNCILLOR Nader Fekri will be a welcome addition to Labour, according to the party’s group leader on Hebden Royd Town Council.
Coun David Young, who is a colleague of Coun Fekri on both Hebden Royd and Calderdale Councils, has welcomed the former Liberal Democrat with open arms.
Coun Young said: “Nader will be a great asset to the Labour Party, as I have been telling him for the last eight years. It is very good news for us at the town council and for Calderdale.
“I very much look forward to working with him.”
However, the news of Coun Fekri’s switch has been met with a hostile reception by Lib Dem Group Leader on Hebden Royd Coun James Baker, who has called on his former colleague to resign.
He said: “This news came as a surprise to me as Coun Fekri had informed us all that he was resigning to move to Turkey, and that a by-election would be held.
“It was clear from the time he was spending in Turkey that he wouldn’t be able to serve as a local councillor. A clear example of this was his being in Turkey whilst Hebden Bridge flooded. Given how apparent it was Nader was not fulfilling his role as a councillor we asked him to resign this month, in order that we could fight a by-election as soon as possible. Nader refused to resign and has instead opted to join the Labour party.”
Coun Baker said the Lib Dem group still believes Coun Fekri should resign because they feel that the fact his family are in Turkey will be a constant distraction and therefore he will not be able to fulfil his role as a councillor. The group also feels that Coun Fekri was elected as a representative of the Lib Dem party and should not be allowed to change colours in order to hang onto his council allowances and improve his re-election chances.
Coun Fekri joins Coun Christine Davenport in swapping yellow for red on Hebden Royd - the Mayor made the switch late last year. It means Labour’s town council majority is strengthened.