16 May 2012
Shirley South Councillor Andy Hodgson, who has been Deputy Leader of Solihull Council's Liberal Democrat Group for nearly two years, has joined the Green Party and Green Group on Solihull Council. A Cabinet Member during the Lib-Lab coalition which ran Solihull Council from 2010-11, Councillor Hodgson has been a Liberal Democrat Councillor for Shirley South since May 2006.
He is joined by his son, Tim Hodgson, who was a Liberal Democrat Councillor for Shirley South from May 2007-2011, Deputy Leader of Solihull Council's Liberal Democrat Group for over two years and a Cabinet Member from 2010-11. He was also the Liberal Democrat candidate for Shirley South in the May 2012 local elections.
The defection of Cllr Andy Hodgson takes the number of Green Party Councillors in Solihull to six, which has grown from just one seat little over a year ago.
Councillor Andy Hodgson said "I have often been a lone voice in standing up for Shirley within the Liberal Democrat Group. They are not providing the strong and effective opposition the people of Solihull deserve. In contrast, I have been impressed by the vigour and leadership shown by the Green Group in holding the out-of-touch Conservative Council to account.
He added "I am also deeply unhappy at the way the Coalition Government with the Conservatives is progressing. I did not become a Liberal Democrat to see tuition fees trebled, further privatisation of the NHS and the green agenda neglected."
Tim Hodgson said "I have been a Liberal Democrat for 10 years, but I have increasingly been at odds with the national party on key issues like tuition fees, NHS privatisation and the abolition of the 50p rate of income tax. I can no longer defend what amounts to support for a Conservative agenda of sweeping cuts and economic policies which are failing to provide the jobs people need.
He added "I have always cared deeply about the environment and social justice, key Green priorities, and I have also been impressed by the bold and principled stance the Greens are taking against this Con-Dem Government."
Green Party Leader, Caroline Lucas MP said "With the West Midlands Greens riding high after their fantastic results in the local elections, I am delighted to be able to welcome Andy and Tim Hodgson to the party. Many people who voted for Nick Clegg's party thinking that they represented an alternative to the Westminster mainstream now feel deeply let down by Lib Dem complicity in the Coalition Government's job-destroying policies. With Greens up and down the country working hard to defend communities against the Government's plans and offering a positive vision of a greener and fairer future, people are increasingly recognising that the Greens are now the credible alternative."
Green Party Group Leader, Councillor Karl Macnaughton (Chelmsley Wood ward) said: "Andy and Tim have been some of the most impressive Councillors in Solihull and we welcome them wholeheartedly. Former Lib Dem voters have already switched to the Green Party in droves so it's only natural that three former Lib Dem Councillors have switched to the Green Party in Solihull in the past 12 months".
It is exactly one year to the day that former Lib Dem Councillor Howard Allen defected to the Green Party: