Former Tory councillor backs Labour hopeful Jake Richards for Rother Valley in response to Conservative discontent

A FORMER Tory councillor has backed Labour’s candidate standing against Alexander Stafford at the next general election.

Cllr Tracey Wilson was among the record 20 Conservatives to win a seat on Rotherham Council at the 2021 local elections.

She quit the party in late 2022, citing dissatisfaction with national parties she said had become “ambulance-chasers” listening to noisy minorities on social media to win short-term gains.

Now Cllr Wilson, independent member for Anston & Woodsetts ward, has backed Labour hopeful Jake Richards to take back Rother Valley for the party - saying residents had been “utterly let down” by the Tories.

She added: “After 13 years of Conservative government, it's time for a change.

“Alexander Stafford MP has failed to take any responsibility for his party’s disastrous record in government.

“He shows up for photo opportunities, but is only interested in winning votes and turning people against one another. I saw this first hand when I was a Conservative councillor - and could not stand by.

“Jake Richards will work tirelessly, has decent and honest values, and will stand up for us in Parliament after the next election. He is already helping the community - without feeling the need to shout from the rooftops - fundraising for local charities and assisting people with casework. He is a guy I trust and he has my full support.”

Mr Richards said: “Only Labour has a plan to protect the NHS, grow the economy and help hard working families in the cost of living crisis. I will work every day to deliver the change Rother Valley needs.”

Mr Stafford, who won with a 6,318 majority in 2019, said: “I understand that Cllr Wilson no longer lives in Rother Valley and I wish her success in her new retail business venture in Rotherham town centre.

“Cllr Wilson’s recent record of supporting the Labour council’s decisions to concrete over the countryside of Rother Valley without supporting first the necessary improvements to infrastructure and public services, while the council spends over £120 million in regenerating the town centre to the neglect of areas such as Anston & Woodsetts, is not what her constituents are telling me they support on the doorstep.

“That she chooses to support Rotherham Labour, who prioritise central Rotherham first, is disappointing but her decision.”