Three local politicians who were elected as Labour councillors have joined a new political party, after leaving Labour over the party’s ‘rightward turn’.
The Breakthrough Party now has seven elected councillors and a mayor, after two Spellthorne Borough Councillors and a Westgate-On-Sea Town Council member joined the party.
What is the Breakthrough Party?
Breakthrough is a youth-led democratic socialist party which describes itself as ‘a new home for those determined to disrupt the failed status quo and build an alternative: a society that uses its considerable wealth to provide dignity, security and justice for all.’
Founded last year by Alex Mays, the party was launched in response to Keir Starmer’s leadership of the Labour party.
Breakthrough aims to be a new home for former Labour members and supporters who are dissatisfied with Starmer’s new direction.
The new Labour leader has been criticised by many on the left for running a leadership campaign which played up his left credentials, while going on to ostracise left-winger and increase internal tensions.
Like the Northern Independence Party, Breakthrough is a grassroots movement which has yet to achieve any notable electoral success - both parties ran candidates in recent by-elections but received less than 1% of the vote.
Breakthrough is yet to field a candidate in a local election, although the party has announced plans to stand in a number of seats in the upcoming local elections in May.
However, the party has managed to attract a number of Borough and Town councillors to join the party, generally among those who were elected as Labour councillors.
New councillors join Breakthrough
Veena Siva and Jenny Vinson of Spelthorne Borough Council in Surrey and Tim Green of Westgate-On-Sea Town Council in Kent are the latest new recruits to the party.
Green is also the Regional Chair of the Fire Brigades Union in the South East.
Explaining her decision, Cllr Siva says: “In December 2020, I resigned from the Labour Party, unable to tolerate the suppression of democracy in the Party under Keir Starmer and its shift away from the socialist policies set out in Labour’s 2019 manifesto.
Three councillors joined the party last year, followed by another last month, and now another three have announced their membership of the burgeoning party.
In all seven cases, the councillors were former Labour members who say they have grown disillusioned with the party’s direction under Keir Starmer.
Cllr Green said he has, “lost faith in the Labour Party”.
He said: “I feel it is letting down younger members and is betraying the socialist values it originally stood for. We are going back to the days of Tony Blair and I just cannot support or be a member of the party.
In January, city councillor and mayor of Bangor Owen Hurcum announced that they had joined the Breakthrough Party.
Hurcum is the first openly non-binary mayor of any city world-wide and the youngest person in history to hold a mayoral position in Wales.
Previously a member of Plaid Cymru, they resigned from the party in March 2021 due to concerns around transphobia and have since sat on Bangor Council as an independent.