A LONG-SERVING Labour county councillor in Dorset has left the party to join the Conservatives.
Councillor Mike Byatt made the announcement ahead of the full Dorset County Council meeting in Dorchester earlier today (Thursday, February 16th).
Councillor Byatt said: “I am delighted to be joining the Conservative Group at County Hall. The Conservative Party has the ambition, vision and leadership to transform local government in Dorset.
“The financial challenges facing local government require strategic leadership and a political party able to deliver services with enterprise, innovation and a plan for economic growth, infrastructure, job creation, building homes and investment development.
“The Labour Party is unable to provide leadership and policies both nationally and locally that can transform local government and deliver economic development.”
Councillor Byatt, who represents the Weymouth Town division, has served on the county council for 12 years, initially from 2001 to 2009 and again from 2013 to date.
He was leader of the Labour Group for six years, from 2004 to 2009 and again from 2013 to 2014.
He has also served on Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, including as chairman of the management committee.
Robert Gould, leader of Dorset County Council and the Conservative Group, said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Mike Byatt to the Conservative Group.
“He is a highly-respected councillor who serves his residents with integrity and dedication and is a strong champion for the interests of Weymouth.
“I am delighted that he recognises the Conservatives are best placed to serve the people of Dorset and that he wants to be part of our team.
“I look forward working closely with Mike in the future as we move ahead in exciting times for the future of local government in Dorset.”