Carla Denyer with Ekua Bayunu

A left wing Labour Councillor in Manchester has defected to the Green Party. Ekua Bayunu has been a Councillor for Hulme ward since 2021, and announced she has resigned from the Labour Party and joined the Greens in a letter to her constituents.

Bayunu’s defection sees the Green Party become the official opposition on Manchester City Council. The Greens now have three seats on the Council, one more than the Liberal Democrats.

Bayunu was known as being on the left of the Labour group, and stood as a left candidate for the leadership of the Council last year. She also served as co-vice chair of the Labour Party’s National Women’s Committee.

In her letter to residents, Cllr Bayunu said, “I have felt hampered in my ambition to serve you all to the best of my ability. I have felt constantly at odds with the culture of the Labour Party. To serve you better and to be able to do more for you I have made a big decision. I have found a new home, a new hope, a group committed to working with local people and that is the Green Party.”

Welcoming the move, Scott Robinson, Co-Chair of Manchester Green Party, said, “We are delighted to welcome Councillor Ekua Bayunu to Manchester Green Party, and we look forward to having her join our two other councillors in making Manchester a greener, fairer place to live. Cllr Bayunu’s move to join the Greens is another sign that the Labour Party is failing in its commitment to Manchester residents, and we will work alongside Cllr Bayunu to fight tirelessly for the residents of Hulme, alongside our work across the whole of Manchester to improve the lives of residents in the city-area.”

Carla Denyer, the Green Party’s co-leader visited Manchester to welcome Bayunu to the party. Speaking on the defection, Denyer said, “We are seeing a steady stream of councillors moving to the Greens from other parties as they discover where their hearts lie and see Green councillors working hard to make their communities greener and fairer.”

Bayunu will join the Green Party’s Woodhouse Park Councillors Rob Nunney, first elected in 2021, and Astrid Johnson who joined Rob in the chamber in 2022.

Bayunu’s defection is the latest in a long string of woes facing Labour in local government. Three Labour Councillors in Stroud – including the Council leader – recently left their party, following complaints regarding the selection process for Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the Stroud constituency. In December, a Labour Councillor in Hastings defected to the Green Party. Jo Bird – once a high profile figure on the Labour left, and a Councillor in the Wirral – joined the Green Party in March and recently wrote in Bright Green that the Labour Party “is no longer a vehicle for social nor environmental justice.”

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