Fleetwood councillors in row after party switch

North West Brexit Party MEP Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, with new party member, Coun Rachel George
North West Brexit Party MEP Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, with new party member, Coun Rachel George

A  row has broken out after a Fleetwood councillor announced she had left the local Labour group to join the Brexit Party.

Coun Rachel George, who represents Pharos ward on Wyre Council, was formally welcomed to the party by North West Brexit Party MEP Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen when he visited the town last Thursday to talk to fish merhants.

Coun Rob Fail, leader of Wyre's Labour group

Coun Rob Fail, leader of Wyre's Labour group

Coun George said she left Labour after becoming disillusioned with it and said she related more to the Brexit Party.

But Labour hit back and said the Pharos councillor had not left the party for political reasons, but because of a row over the way she had run a beach wheelchair scheme.

Wyre Labour leader, Coun Rob Fail, said the switch of parties should now trigger a by-election in Pharos.

Mr Overgaard-Nielsen said: “I’m delighted Rachel has decided to come over to us and I have no doubt she will be a tremendous asset.

“She is plainly a determined hard worker who does not let obstacles stand in her way. It takes courage to leave a party after being a life-long supporter.”

Coun George,a 36-year-old mum-of-four, who lives in Fleetwood and has been a Labour councillor of Wyre Borough Council for three years, said: “When I researched the Brexit Party I found I believed in their views on leaving the EU and afterwards.

“They are building policies from the ground-up and that is exactly the way it should be.”

Coun George, who is also a member of Fleetwood Town Council, where she is the council’s disability champion, said she had received abuse in the street since leaving Labour.

Coun Fail said of the wheelchair project: “Rather than facing up to the problems, Coun George has chosen a very disappointing path.

“As for the Brexit Party becoming Coun George’s new home, good luck with that one, but the plus side for her is that at least she won’t have too many policies to remember.

“She was elected as a Labour Pharos Ward councillor only three months ago, and it will be very interesting to see if she does the right thing and now instigates a by-election.”

But Coun George added she would not, saying: “I was elected to serve Fleetwood people, not a national party.”