By James Moules
A YOUNG British socialist party has a council seat for the first time after a town councillor in Yorkshire defected from Labour.
Samantha Cooper, 34, a town councillor for Keighley, West Yorkshire, has switched her party allegiance to the Breakthrough Party citing disillusionment with Labour’s direction under Keir Starmer.
The Breakthrough Party was founded earlier this year as a new democratic socialist party, aiming to offer a new home for members of the Labour left who no longer support the party under its current leadership.
Samantha said: “Under the new leadership, the Labour Party has turned its back on the people I was elected to represent and I can no longer look them in the eye while remaining in the Party.
“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.”
The party gained 197 votes – coming in sixth place out of eight and failing to retain its deposit.
But party founder Alex Mays is now hoping that Samantha’s defection will represent a step forward for the party’s standing.
He said: “Samantha embodies everything Breakthrough stands for – she’s unashamedly socialist, incredibly passionate about her local community, and wants to fight for a better and fairer society.
“Her support for campaigns around free school meals and Black Lives Matter, as well as her tireless community work for the people of Keighley, is a testament to that.
“As our first ever councillor, she will have a big responsibility in setting out what Breakthrough can do at a local level and I’m looking forward to seeing that in action.
“This a proud moment for our party and hopefully Samantha will be the first of many Breakthrough councillors.”
Samantha added: “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.”
Redaction Report will host an interview with party founder Alex Mays later this week.
The Labour Party was contacted for comment.
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