Councillor says he will not stand down and spark by-election after leaving Hartlepool Labour Party to join new Socialist Labour group

A councillor who resigned from the Hartlepool Labour Party says he will not stand down and spark a by-election.

By Peter Tennick
Thursday, 25 April, 2019, 15:25
Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher has left the Hartlepool Labour Party and joined the Socialist Labour Party.

Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, a former ceremonial mayor who represents the Manor House ward, has cut up his membership card and has announced he is joining the Socialist Labour Party.

But Coun Akers-Belcher said he will not stand down and added: "Having talked to many residents who I have worked with for over 15 years they support me in not triggering a by-election.

"For 15 years I have represented the ward and current and past ward councillors have worked well as a team.

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"If I was to serve as an independent then I could understand the calls to stand in a by election.

"I am overwhelmed by the support I have received and will contest my seat in 2020 as a Socialist Labour Party candidate."

Coun Akers-Belcher also said he disagreed with a statement from the Hartlepool CLP claiming he had become a distraction to the work that the Labour Party is doing to improve Hartlepool, including creating cleaner neighbourhoods.

He said: "In June last year I became the chair of neighbourhood services and I have been responsible for securing extra resources to clean up the town."

Hartlepool Borough Council launched a clean-up campaign last year and took on eight new recruits to boost its environmental workforce.