Cosham residents want by-election after shock defection

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CALLS have been made for a by-election to be held following a councillor’s defection to a rival political party after just six months in power.

Residents in Cosham, Portsmouth, say Cllr Aiden Gray, who represents the area, should step down from his post after he switched from the Liberal Democrats to Labour.

People feel Cllr Gray is now representing the party they didn’t want to see voted in.

As previously reported in The News, Cllr Gray decided to jump ship because he disagreed with the Lib Dems’ decision to pump millions of pounds into The Pyramids leisure centre instead of using the money to help the rest of the city.

Cllr Gray has also stepped down from his role as cabinet member for community safety.

He said: ‘I was previously part of an administration which cared more about the south of the city. There needs to be a balance.

‘The needs of residents in Cosham are at the top of my agenda and being a part of Labour will help me to achieve more for them.’

Dale Richards, deputy manager of H&T Pawnbrokers, in High Street, Cosham, added: ‘An election is the people’s choice, that’s the point of democracy. This isn’t what they wanted.

‘There should be a by-election.

‘On the other hand there are a lot of deprived people living in and around Cosham and the Labour party will be able to relate to them better.’

Eric Compton, of Medina Road, Cosham, said: ‘Anything like this when someone defects to another party, especially so soon after a general election, is wrong in my eyes.

‘Cllr Gray should stand down and come up for re-election as a representative for Labour. People need to be given the choice.

‘I don’t think Labour is a bad idea for Cosham. It’s just the principle I’m not happy about.’

Others say Cllr Gray should be given a chance to prove himself.

Mike King, 62, who lives in Cosham, said: ‘My political alliance has changed many times over the years so I don’t see a problem with this.

‘As long as he helps to boost the area then I’m happy.

‘It’s got a bit run-down in recent years and I don’t think there’s enough for young people to do.’