A Labour Councillor has defected to The Breakthrough Party - becoming the newly formed left-wing party's first ever elected representative.
Samantha Cooper, a Town Councillor for the Woodhouse and Hainworth Ward in Keighley, Bradford, blamed Keir Starmer for her decision to switch parties.
Cooper, 34, said that under Starmer's leadership Labour had "turned its back" on the people she was elected to represent, and claimed that she could "no longer look [her constituents] in the eye whilst remaining in the Party".
Following her defection, the new Breakthrough Party Councillor added:
"There are some truly good people in Labour and those people will always have my respect. But as a primary school teacher and mother of two young children, I can't watch the Party walk back on its support for the trade unions, on its proud and unwavering support for the most vulnerable groups in our society, at the same time keeping MPs who ally themselves with those who make the world more dangerous for people I love.
"As a teacher, I asked my party for solidarity during the pandemic, in a time when our union had never needed support more. I didn't get it."
In her statement, Cooper also emphasised her family's long association with the Labour Party, and said that her decision to switch to The Breakthrough Party was to allow her to fight for "the radical policies that so many of the people in Keighley and the rest of the country so desperately need":
"My Mum used to leaflet for the Labour Party as a child with my Grandad. He was a miner, and a conscripted soldier. Old school Labour Party! I used to dream of becoming a Labour MP and taking his photo with me to Parliament.
"I joined Labour because I believed that they had the backs of people like the miners and the unions. My Grandad made sure I joined the union when I got into teaching. 'Stick with your union and they'll see you right,' he would say.
"What I took from that was solidarity and always looking to see who needed a hand up. I used to feel confident that Labour left no one behind. Labour supporters in Keighley are brilliant but since the change of leadership, the Party has turned its back on them.
"I've joined Breakthrough to fight for the radical policies that so many of the people in Keighley and the rest of the country so desperately need. That means fighting for secure jobs that pay decent wages, affordable homes, good schools and a properly funded public health and social care system."
🚨WE HAVE OUR FIRST COUNCILLOR🚨
🟠🌤 A big welcome to Keighley town councillor Samantha Cooper, who has defected from the Labour Party to join Breakthrough.