Bridgwater and Sedgemoor Labour Groups have called for a by-election following the announcement by former Labour councillor Diogo Rodrigues that he is joining the Conservatives. Diogo was elected as a Labour councillor last May. Two months later he declared himself an “independent”. Now he has jumped ship once more. He has justified his decision praising the Sedgemoor Tories as running “one of the most efficient councils in the country,” a view unlikely to chime with most people’s experience, and certainly not the experience of voters who elected him for Labour.
This is a contradiction of many of his previous statements. When Diogo decided to end his campaign to get himself elected an independent MP in November 2019, he said: “Bridgwater & West Somerset desperately needs change, and desperately deserves a representative in Parliament who will give them a voice. The best chance of giving people back their voice is by replacing [Bridgwater Tory MP] Ian-Liddell Grainger.”
Dragging Bridgwater down to its knees?
To the further confusion of local voters, he also said in July 2019 that: “The UK with Boris Johnson as prime minister is a great risk to ordinary people across the country and will simply drag our communities down to its knees.”
Now that Johnson actually is Prime Minister it must seem strange to voters why he would now wish to join them in helping to bring Bridgwater “down to its knees”.
When he stood for Labour in May 2019 he argued that “Brexit was dividing us and we needed unity which only Labour could bring,” adding: “The campaign should be about local issues and the work of [Labour-run] Bridgwater Town Council shows that we have delivered what we said we would … We have to prove that our politics is different and that people can trust us to deliver what we say we will.”
Time to go, Diogo …
Labour Group Leader Cllr Brian Smedley says: “It’s now time for Diogo to tell the voters who elected him as a Labour councillor what exactly his real politics are and defend them. Diogo came to Bridgwater five years ago as a newcomer and Labour welcomed him in, worked hard to get him elected and then helped him to become Mayor. Labour members and Labour voters did this.
“The voters of Dunwear and Fairfax East did NOT vote Labour to get a Tory elected and he should now resign and stand under his true colours – whatever they are.”