A FORMER Conservative councillor who has switched to the Lib-Dems says there will more defections on knife-edge Calderdale.
Brighouse voters elected Clr Nick Yates as a Conservative in 2004.
But he will join the Lib-Dem group on Calderdale on August 1, having spent the last few months as an independent.
Clr Yates’s move brings his new party up to 17 seats on the council – just one behind the ruling Conservatives.
And he had a warning for his former colleagues.
Clr Yates said: “A number of other Conservative councillors are unhappy, so there could be more defections.”
The councillor, who had voted Tory since the 1960s, said he had become disillusioned with the party.
He said: “The Conservatives have let us down in Brighouse time after time.
“It’s the second largest town in the district, but to a large extent it has been ignored. For instance, the swimming pool was closed last year when it didn’t need to be.”
And Clr Yates had harsh words for some former colleagues.
He said: “Things are not done in a reasonable way and there’s a lot of manipulation. They’re stuck in their ways and they don’t have imaginative ideas.”
Clr Yates also criticised the fact that the Conservatives run the council despite having only 18 of the 51 seats.
The Lib-Dems have 17 councillors and Labour 11. There are three independents and one representative each for the English Democrats and the BNP.
Clr Yates added: “We have a weak Calderdale Cabinet because talented people from the Lib-Dems, Labour and the independents are not included.”
And he rejected calls for him to resign his seat and attempt re-election as a Lib Dem in a by-election.
Clr Yates said: “I’m up for re-election next year anyway, so I don’t see the point of causing further disruption through a by-election.”
But one of his former colleagues, Clr David Ginley, said Clr Yates should seek a new mandate immediately.
The Warley (Halifax) representative said: “Clr Yates should stand under his true colours. All those people who voted for him as a Conservative have been betrayed.
“He’s always been a man of honour, so I’m surprised and disappointed that he has refused to resign his seat.”
Clr Ginley predicted that the Conservatives would unseat Clr Yates in next year’s elections.
He said: “People in Brighouse will feel betrayed and will want to vote in another Conservative. They won’t support someone who crosses the floor.’’