Nader Fekri, a former Mayor of Calderdale, has quit the Liberal Democrats and has applied to join the Labour Party.
Liberal Democrat group leader Janet Battye (Calder) said he should resign his seat: “Earlier in the year Coun Fekri relocated to Turkey after his wife started a job a new job in Instanbul.
“We believed it was clearly impossible for him to remain as a councillor while he was spending a large amount of time living over 2,000 miles away. We therefore told him we expected him to resign.
“It is clear that Coun Fekri cares more about his councillor allowance rather than representing the people of Calder ward. This is something we could not allow to continue. We believe the pressure we put on Coun Fekri to resign is the real reason he has left the Liberal Democrats rather than any spurious national policy issues,” said Coun Battye.
But Coun Fekri was adamant that he would not resign from Calderdale Council.
Councillor Fekri said he had taken the decision to quit the party with a heavy heart and after much soul-searching.
“However, the national situation has caused me much anguish and from the start, I have made no secret of my opposition to the decision to enter into a coalition with the Conservative Party.
“I accepted the decision as a good democrat, hoping against hope that my fears would be unfounded and that the Tories would change their spots and be able to be trusted.
“But the Conservatives have once again shown themselves to be “reliably untrustworthy”, reliable in their attacks on the poor, and to be trusted on not keeping their side of the bargain,” he said.
Councillor Fekri lives in Hebden Bridge and represents the Calder ward on Calderdale Council.
“I find it impossible to defend the devastating policies that this government is inflicting on the country. Not merely its inept management of the economy, with nary a grasp of basic Keynesian economics, but also in major policy areas, especially education and of course the NHS.
“On the economy, far from all being in it together we have a worsening recession which is adversely affecting millions of people across the country, but especially thousands of folk here in Calderdale, every day.”
Councillor Fekri said some people might think that as he was elected as a Lib Dem he should stand down and fight a by-election.
“But I have come to the conclusion that a by-election will be both costly and disruptive, and that ultimately, I am the same person with the same beliefs and commitments as I had when last re-elected in 2010.”
His four year term of office not due to come to an end until May 2014.