A COUNCILLOR is standing his ground after quitting the Labour Party.
John Ferrett also stood down from his role as leader of Portsmouth City Council’s Labour group yesterday, after 27 years with the party.
And he revealed plans to become an independent councillor, although Portsmouth Labour is hoping for a by-election in his Paulsgrove ward.
Cllr Ferrett announced his resignation live on BBC Radio Solent yesterday morning, following Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election as Labour leader.
He said: ‘I found it very difficult to stay with Labour after Corbyn was first elected, but I thought that the party would see sense relatively quickly.
‘I now have to accept that he’s got a stronger mandate than he had before.’
It emerged that Cllr Ferrett had failed to inform the party that he was quitting prior to his announcement.
Siôn Reynolds, co-chairman of Portsmouth Labour, says that the party is ‘disappointed’ by the resignation.
He said: ‘It’s regrettable that Cllr Ferrett did not inform Portsmouth Labour Party of his decision to stand down.
‘We would like to thank him for his work with the party.’
Cllr Ferrett was elected as a Labour councillor for the Paulsgrove ward in 2012, and re-elected in May.
He says he is ‘prepared to listen to residents’ as he intends to continue work as an independent councillor.
He said: ‘I hope that people have recognised that I have done a lot of hard work in Paulsgrove.
‘I’m proud of most of my time with the Labour Party.
‘I made some great friendships and I campaigned alongside people who shared a common purpose.’
Mr Reynolds said: ‘We hope that he will give the residents of Paulsgrove the opportunity to have their say (through a by-election) on his decision to leave the party.’
Stephen Morgan has become acting leader of Portsmouth Labour group, saying that he ‘deeply regrets’ his colleague’s decision.
He said: ‘This is a time for the Labour Party to unite.
‘We have more in common than that which divides us.
‘Only by being united can we hold the government to account on the issues that matter to people in Portsmouth and across the country.’
n Cllr Ferrett’s next monthly surgery will be at the Paulsgrove Area Housing Office in Allaway Avenue on Thursday, October 1 from midday to 2pm.