A string of Leicester councillors have defected to the Conservative Party, after being deselected by Labour.
North Evington Councillor Rashmikant Joshi is the latest to join the Conservatives, after 18 years of serving the Labour Party.
He follows Cllr Rae Bhatia and Cllr Westley, who will stand for the Conservatives in the Beaumont Leys ward at the upcoming local elections, against new Labour candidates.
The news comes as 19 sitting councillors were told by Labour that they would not be able to defend their seats on May 4.
Cllr Joshi, a former Lord Mayor of Leicester, was among those deselected by the Labour Party last week, for their part in
He told the Leicester Times that although his decision to defect was a difficult one, it was in the interests of the city for him to join a party that will put local people first.
“Over the last 5-6 years, the Labour Party has been travelling in a very different direction, led by the City Mayor,” [Sir Peter Soulsby],” he said.
“The situation was getting very disenchanted. Decisions were being made prior to the knowledge of Labour councillors on many occasions,” he went on to reveal.
“Many in the Labour Party feel that when there is too much power in one person’s hands for too long, it becomes a very volatile situation.
“The City Mayor has too much power and its current holder is not using that power appropriately. He is letting our city down.”
Part of the City of Leicester Conservative manifesto is to ‘scrap the city Mayor,’ and ‘bring democracy to the people of Leicester,’ they say.
Councillor Joshi says that he feels let down by the Labour Party, which he was served diligently for almost two decades.
However, he is relieved to be out of the group which is “broken” and “dysfunctional.”
“A few months ago, a few councillors got together and we were discussing the impact of mental health issues within the group. There was a lot of infighting and issues where councillors felt that they were not very well supported when it came to personal wellbeing,” he revealed.
“At being deselected, we were treated us with total contempt, there was no regard for hardworking councillors who have been there for many, many years – who have fought elections after election and been successful in their campaign.
“It is a very distressing, sad situation which is happening in the city of Leicester, and I just hope the people of Leicester do the right thing on May 4.”
The City Mayor’s office has been approached for comment, which is yet to be received.