Councillor defects to opposition on Mansfield District Council

Oak Tree ward councillor, Vaughan Hopewell, who has joined the MIF.
Oak Tree ward councillor, Vaughan Hopewell, who has joined the MIF.

A Labour councillor has announced he has left the party to join the Mansfield Independent Forum (MIF).

Councillor Vaughan Hopewell, who was re-elected in May as a Labour member for the Oak Tree area of Mansfield, felt he needed to make the switch so he could continue to serve the people of his ward.

He is the second Labour member to defect, with Councillor Nick Bennett moving to the MIF in July.

It means the MIF now have a 19 to 17 majority over Labour members on Mansfield District Council, which includes mayor Kate Allsop and two UKIP members who joined a coalition with the MIF in August.

Coun Hopewell said: “Following the elctions in May, and the independents (MIF) taking control of the council, I have been considering my role as a councillor and how I can maintain my objective of serving the residents of my ward.

“I have come to the conclusion that the only way I can do my best for my ward is to work with the executive mayor, Kate Allsop and her independent colleagues.

“This does not mean that my political principles have changed or that I am abandoning my deeply-felt democratic views that I have held for many years.

“But it does mean that I am going to work for my ward and do what is best for them and not what is best for any political party.

“I have no doubt that in the future there will be policies that the executive mayor puts forward that I will vote against if they are not in the best interests of the residents I serve.

“I am satisfied that I can speak or vote freely to support the residents in my ward and the district as a whole.

“And so today I have joined the Mansfield Independent Forum and will be part of the coalition that will be working with the mayor and the Independents in doing what is best for my Ward and Mansfield.”