– “this is all about Tim’s ego” say critics
By Graham Smith
The Cornwall councillor for Penzance East, Tim Dwelly, has resigned from the Labour Party and will now sit as an Independent. He claimed “bullying and intimidation” by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Dwelly, who has long been at loggerheads with party activists in Cornwall, gave his fellow Labour councillors no notice of his departure and announced his decision on Facebook before seeking wider media interviews. He had been leader of the five-member Labour group for three years.
The recently elected Labour councillor for Falmouth Smithick, Jayne Kirkham, was elected deputy group leader a few weeks ago and is now expected to take over, at least until the next group meeting. Ms Kirkham supported Mr Dwelly as Labour group leader and is not implicated in any way in his decision to quit the party.
Mr Dwelly claimed the Labour Party in Cornwall had been “taken over by people from the extreme left” and alleged the party was now riven by plots and conspiracies. But Mr Dwelly himself rarely missed the opportunity to criticise Jeremy Corbyn, and often signed “round-robin” letters organised by Right-wing groups – most recently over the row involving Haringey council’s public-private housing plans. Mr Dwelly supports the creation of a similar project in Cornwall.
He also recently supported Cornwall Council’s plans to set up an Accountable Care System, taking over responsibility for strategic commissioning of the National Health Service. Labour Party policy is to oppose, or at least delay, Accountable Care Systems, pending clarification of how their fixed five-year budgets will work.
One Labour Party critic of Mr Dwelly said: “It’s always a shame when someone feels they can no longer argue their position within the party. But a Labour group of councillors which is supported by the wider Labour Party is always going to be more effective than a group led by one maverick. I’m afraid this is all about Tim’s ego. It’ll be noisy for a few days but we’ll get over it.”