Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tory Defector's Inconvenient Truth

When I heard this afternoon of the defection of Cllr Les Byrom to Labour (ostensibly over 42 days) I thought to myself it was a bit odd, seeing as though it has been Tory policy to oppose extending the pre charge detention period for at least four years. So I rang a friend in the North West to ask for some background. All is, as is usual with defections, not quite what it seems.

Cllr Byrom has had a nice little earner as Tory chairman of the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (£7,596). Sadly (for him) his term comes to an end next week, and the Tory leader on Sefton Borough Council has decided not to renominate him. He has moved heaven and earth to try to get her to reverse the decision, but she has stuck to her guns. He even tried to enlist the support of Bob Neill and Eric Pickles. Why is he so anxious? Because without that position, he cannot continue as Chairman of the LGA Fire Committee (remuneration £9,996). So by losing these two jobs, Cllr Byrom has lost more than £17,500 in allowances.

When I spoke to Eric on something else half an hour ago his ghast was well and truly flabbered. He said he was astounded at Byrom's defection and what he was saying on the BBC News Channel, especially given the email he and Bob Neill had received from him after Crewe & Nantwich. Eric has given me full permission to quote from the email. Here's what Mr Byrom thought, only two weeks ago...
Great result in Crewe, I picked up the vibes last Friday as Janice and I pounded the streets and council houses, Labour were in for a kicking, but it brings us renewed confidence, the press and establishment are now predicting a Tory Government, there is a buzz about our next administration and we are on the way back.

Also reflects well on the Local Government team and Eric, with good press coverage.

Doesn't sound to me like an unhappy Conservative. He goes on in the email to berate the leader of his council group for her plans not to renominate him to the Fire Authority, which would then place in jeopardy his place on the LGA Fire Committee. He pleads with Bob Neill and Eric Pickles to intervene and save his position. They, however, felt unable to do so as it is entirely down to the local group leader how she allocates jobs like this.

So Les Byrom sees both his sinecures disappearing and decides to defect on the spurious pretence of disagreeing with the Tory leadership on 42 days. How convenient for that to happen a day before the vote.

Perhaps Cllr Byrom could tell the truth and stop pretending it's about 42 days, when it so clearly is not.

PS Thank you to my correspondent who has sent me the above picture of Cllr Byrom. I assume that he will be instantly branded a 'toff' by Labour HQ and ejected from the party immediately.

UPDATE 6pm: Hmmm, Cllr Byrom has certainly built up some enemies over the years judging by the avalanche of emails which I have been sent over the last hour. Excuse me while I filter them...

UPDATE: Having been a candidate for four parliamentary elections and two EU ones, his applications to get on the candidates list after 2005, and again last year, were rejected.

UPDATE: Reaction from the Southport Visitor.


Anonymous said...

Great investigatory work Iain!

Anonymous said...

I watched that interview. He said that Con should support 'emegency services' etc and he did not in any way stress the 42 day issue.

He said we should all get behind the people who serve us in dangerous occupations. He was thus inclined to join Labour. Now I ask you. What sort of mendacious self serving cretin is this Bryon sic.

Labour's PM Brown starved the armed forces of funding, despises those who wear the uniform(always has despite y'days crocodile tears) and leads the Govt that this imbecile wants to join. What a pillock. What a FWit. Somebody tell him that Labour destroyed the military covenant.

Chris K said...

I'm surprised Bob Neill didn't want to support a fellow multi-jobber in need.

Anonymous said...

speaking to eric about the chairmanship? Pledging your support?

Anonymous said...

Nice one Iain

Another piggy caught in the do-do.

How on earth can he sit amongst his new colleagues knowing that he is completely morally bankrupt.

There's got to be legislation forcing an election when councillors/MPs cross sides.

Anonymous said...

great blogging Iain!

Anonymous said...

Iain, I had just finished blogging on this story (in my own special way) when I read your post. Fascinating background, not least because his reasoning doesn't make a word of sense.

Anonymous said...

Les Byrom was the candidate in the ill-fated Wirral South by-election in 1997.

Must be something in the air in Merseyside since looking at the local election results, Southport, Crosby and both the Wirral seats have substantially under-achieved in the last five years. We lost a seat on Sefton Council this year, Wirral South lost seats to Labour in 2006 and 2007 but did win one from the Liberals this year while Wirral West(a complete basket case of an Association) having nine Tory Councillors in 2005 have lost one third of theirs and are now on parity with the Lib Dems and this in a nominally Tory seat.

Sefton Council may be suspended for failing to form a Cabinet: its near parity for all three parties

Yet in Wallasey, a seat with a large Labour majority, Labour are down to five Councillors and the Tories now on thirteen.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a Councillor myself - some Councillors are self important prigs with a highly developed sense of their general worthiness (from all parties may may I add).

The first thing they do on getting elected is add the word "Councillor" to their cheque books!

This defection looks like a fit of pique to me!

Labour is welcome to him.

Anonymous said...

He is right People must put country before party and vote to protect the public not terror suspects they will be fully compenasted if they are innocenrt. I would rather lock up a terros suecpt than see innocent men women and children killed. What would Churchill do? Country before party.

Anonymous said...

yet another politician (tory and labour)with his snout in the trough, thank you ian for bringing this to our noticenwoxhs

Scary Biscuits said...

These 'allowances' paid to local councillors are a disgrace.

Windsor, where I live, recently won back the council from the LibDems. Alas, one of their first acts was to award themselves a big payrise.

Their best argument was that being a Councillor, especially in the new-fangled cabinet system, was a time-consuming job and that the pay was still paltry. The worst argument was pay-peanuts-get-monkeys. Apart from not realising that they had all fought hard for election on the old pay scheme, the evidence that higher pay produces higher quality candidates just isn't there. In fact, the evidence is that it just attracts scumbags like Cllr Byrom.

(In the north of Britain, for example, councillor allowances are much higher than in the south despite the lower cost of living.)

Being a councillor should be an honorary position; if you can't afford the time you should make way for somebody more dedicated.

fairdealphil said...

...talking of 'nice little earners', any more news on Caroline Spelman, Alan Duncan, John Purvis, Sajjad Karim, Sir Robert Atkins, Giles Chichester, Den Dover...??

fairdealphil said...

...with sleaze back on the agenda, probably not a good week for Tories to be talking about 'inconvenient truths'....!!

Anonymous said...

Dear all,

You can tell Les what you feel about his defection via the contact details he gives out on his website.

I'm sure he'll value your opinions.

E mail me on : byrom-southport@msn.com ( Private e mail )

Private phone 01704 574859
Private Fax 01704 572100

Mobile : 07836 621059

Business Phone Byrom & Thomas Chartered Surveyors 01704 575515

Anonymous said...

Since when did tories see the human rights of terror suspects as more important then lives of British people.
Chrurchill would turn in his grave. Well unless he was cremated.
So would Thacther and she is not even in her grave. She bought a new grave just so she could turn in it, as the craven tory surrender to the terror scum. LOL.
Michael Howard is turning in his grave but he is just getting up so he can bite some necks. LOL.

CC said...

Being a councillor should be an honorary position; if you can't afford the time you should make way for somebody more dedicated.

Someone richer or retired you mean? As another website might say I welcome our new plutocrat and gerontocrat overlords...

Anonymous said...

Councillor allowances need a thorough overhaul. Group leaders use their largesse to ensure loyalty. In some way of another over 20 out of 50 councillors on my council receive special responsibility allowances- all in all the cost is over £500,000 a year.
2006 survey is here:

2008 survey is just being issued

Anonymous said...

A defection to ANY party is never what it seems.... especially at council level!

Anonymous said...

Labour are welcome to this self serving clown....The Conservatives gain is Labour`s loss!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear FDPhil,

What about Michael Cashman MEP (Lab) paying his civil partner Eight Grand a month to work for him and refusing to explain his other expenses? Cashman, who theoretically represents a West Midlands seat, seems to spend his time running round shitty European countries like Turkey and Lithuania trying to convince them to be gay friendly.

We might be a bit more sympathetic if he represented his constituency. On second thoughts, though, I am not prepared to be sympathetic because he is just another pig with his snout in the trough.

Phil, can't you see? They are all at it, every one of them?

Anonymous said...

"......talking of 'nice little earners', any more news on Caroline Spelman, Alan Duncan, John Purvis, Sajjad Karim, Sir Robert Atkins, Giles Chichester, Den Dover...??"

Theyare old news. Michael Cashman now - that's pretty fresh ;)

And I'm sure he isn't the only one. I'm watching Guido for more Lab/LibDem peccadillos daily.

Scary Biscuits said...


Most conservative activists I know are hoping that everybody you mention will all have the whip withdrawn.

The similarity between Labour/Liberals and the Conservatives is that we both have corrupt MPs/MEPs/Cllrs. The difference is that the Tory grassroots regards Tory offenders with even more anger than ones from other parties. Whereas Labour trolls like yourself seem to vary your principles depending on whether people belong to your tribe or not. Perhaps people like you would prefer it if this country was run along more tribal lines?

Anonymous said...

dirty euro - What would Churchill do?

"Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization."

Winston Churchill

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, Cllr Byrom has certainly built up some enemies over the years...

They're called constituents Iain!

As defectors go, Labour have just won themselves the last turkey in the shop.


Anonymous said...

Most conservative activists I know are hoping that everybody you mention will all have the whip withdrawn.

And then what? Wait until the media (not famously keen on the Tories, especially when they're doing well in the polls) dig deep enough to discover that virtually every elected Tory, especially those who've been in office for a while, did something with his / her expenses that might have been well within the rules at the time it happened, but looks a bit dodgy by the standards of the present-day witch-hunting? Other than externalising the self-hatred of a particular strand of the Conservative Party, what exactly is this likely to achieve? Can we please go back to dealing with the big issues, rather than making an enormous fuss over frankly derisory amounts of money at a time when taxation and public expenditure are both not only stupidly high but also famously ineffective?

Anonymous said...

"You can tell Les what you feel about his defection via the contact details he gives out on his website.

I'm sure he'll value your opinions."

Very funny, Mr Bond, very funny !!

Anonymous said...

Well done Ian.

but why do local councillors get paid such vast amounts for doing in effect Sweet FA? This can not be right proper.

The Conservative party is well rid of him, I would be interested to see his finacial gains on becoming Labour.

Anonymous said...

I say, what an absolute rotta! We are better off without his sort. Pip pip.

Newmania said...

Having been a candidate for four parliamentary elections and two EU ones

Clearly a fine MEP we have lost.

F D Phill you will note that the Conservative Party has the backing of the country after these revelations.What on earth will happen when Brown dares insist on transparency.

Any way so be fat hairy what ,am I the only one here who has fiddled expenses? Yeah right...

Anonymous said...

Sehr geEhrter Iain


Si interessante

Labor optimus
[Gutes Werk]


G Adler

Chris Paul said...

As you well know many thousands of Tory members and supporters are illiberal enough to support 42 days detention.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how much work was involved with these two posts the the councillor occupied? Or is this just another way for politicians to fleece the rest of us?

Unsworth said...

Good Grief.

This Councillor Byrom looks like he's just escaped from some sort of existentialist 'Easy Rider'.

Peter Fonda on Prozac.

That hat and those shades - far out, Man.

Anonymous said...

Byrom knew his time at the LGA was up (he Chaired the Fire Forum, Fire Service Management Committee and the NJC !) , he had done 5 years . Very Senior Civil Servants at the DCLG told me over the last few weeks he was becoming an embarrassement turning up at all sorts of meetings that were for officials only . Byrom had gone completly native as sadly far too many Fire Authority members do (you feel some of them want to drive the fire engines !) and frankly most meetings Byrom chaired dragged on for hours and achieved very little ........
Our excellent Shadow Local Government Minister Bob Neil (over 20 years experience himself in Local Government , Havering , the GLC and the London Assembly )knew that it was hardly appropriate to intervene (nor does he have the power anyway ) in how a Council Group appoints to outside bodies . How many of us Councillors have not fallen out over the years with a Group leader or had a row over which outside body we are appointed to ? We dont all cross the floor as a result.

Cllr Brian Coleman AM Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority , Member of the LGA Fire Service Management Committee , Member of the Fire Forum and many other Committies far to boring to mention but still a right wing Tory who has not gone native

Anonymous said...

G Eagle esq

You are Max Mosley and I claim my £500!

Anonymous said...

The government is not locking up people for being unpopular but for being terror suspects for 42 days. How is that comparbale?
Mosley was locked up during WW2./

fairdealphil said...

Is that really 'grab-a-cab' Coleman having the3 brass neck to comment on a post in which Iain talks about 'a nice little earner...' ??

As a Tory member of the London Assembly Brian Coleman managed to run up a £10,000 taxi bill on the rates - more than all the other members of the GLA put together - including the Mayor.

'Grab-a-cab' even managed to clock up a cab fare of £660 in one day...

As he says in his comment, he hasn't changed...

Check it out here:


Ted Foan said...

Before turning to Chris Paul's informative and ever interesting blog where no doubt there will a 2,000 word expose on why Iain Dale is a twunt, could I just take a moment to ask our "Friends In The North" can your ghast be flabbered or should it be your flabber is ghasted?

Just asking - actually it seems marginally more interesting than the Stockport "traitorgate" fuss. (But he is still a little, weasel-worded shit!)

Chris Paul said...

Coleman is a big bully and a well known gravy trainer in extremis Phil with the old taxi bill emeplary on that one.

Who cares what he thinks. And are we to have a full investigation and smearage every time the Tories lose an elected member? And btw he is not joining to "join the government" he is joining to change sides in what he finds an unsatisfactory local government situation.

Should we reciprocate by tackling the knobs your party gain. Like Faraz "Buzz" Bhatti who left for the main chance having worked out he would not be a PPC in a prospect with the Lib Dems or leader, deputy or scrutiny chair (i.e. paid posts), that his future in his community was sorely strained due to his adultery and plein air antics, that following Sajjad Karim was the thing to do, that perhaps he could get another Tory or two elected and get some pay as a group official then.

Like the one Respect lost to the Tories in Tower Hamlets? Like the Ealing Southall sulks?

Presumably Faraz expects to be Tory candidate in Withington or Gorton? What will he do when/if he is not?

Though Sajjad could be 2nd on the NW list, even first, so he's landed on his feet.

Anonymous said...


FFS.........Southport is on the coast 20 miles north of Liverpool. Having had some tough times, it's on the way back up again big style.

Stockport is a shit-hole in South Manchester you drive past on your way to the Trafford Centre.

Do not confuse the two!

Anonymous said...


You clearly feel very strongly about the morality of the elected representaive classes.

I take it that you have nothing to hide and your financial dealings would be beyond rapproach?

So - you'll have no sleepless nights if everyone who reads Iain's blog starts digging around in your past?

Of course not.

Sleep well Phil.

Anonymous said...

dirty euro

Why do you not see the difference between locking up terrorists and locking up suspects? I'm not a Tory but I greatly admire W Churchill, and I'm sure he would have been very clear to make the distinction himself.

OTOH I note that the many of self same Tory MPs who are now in such anguish about the prospect of 42 day detention, sat on their hands in 2001 when the INDEFINITE detention of terrorist suspects was passed by a massive majority.

The LDs voted against, as did the Scot Nats, but only 2 Conservatives stood up against susch a draconian measure, Richard Shepherd and Douglas Hogg, along with just 13 Labour rebels.

The law was eventually struck down by the Law Lords in 2004, being both irredemeably discriminatory (it only applied to non-UK nationals) as well as being disporportionate.

Support this nonsense if you like, but think about what will you say the next time some foreign government locks up a Brit for weeks on end without giving any evidence or charging him in an open court.

Anonymous said...

Brian Coleman says he is a right wing tory well why is he weak on terror. Why would he rather give human rights to terror suspects than save innocent British women and children's lives.
This is a vote for heroes. I say well done to the tory heroes who vote with the government, they are "real men" and "pure women" of principal. Cowards do not deserve to be in government, vote for the brave heroes who defend our country.
As Churchill said never have so many tories done so little for their country.

Anonymous said...

Diablo raises what is probably the most pressing issue of modern times, which is, is your flabber ghasted or... is your ghast flabbered? As a regular on here I notice Iain arbitrarily mixes these up, as if it does not matter. The late great Frankie Howard was in no doubt, often noting that his flabber had never been so gasted.(It is rumoured to be the cause of his death but this was covered up at the time).

My medical friend informs me that gastation of the flabber was until the 20th century considered inoperable and accordingly fatal. It wasn't until the First World War that wounded soldiers were observed eating flabberwort, a wild herb native to Northern France. This reduced the gastation to such an extent that the active ingredients were distilled and made available for oral consumption. Unfortunately this is no longer available on the NHS unless you live in Humberside.

Non treatment of the gasted flabber leads to a fragilistic flabber. The patient experiences severe stabbing pains in the scrotum, projectile snot and outrageously bad farts. Having experienced this agony, the pain ceases, the patient experiences a sense of well-being and dies.

I hope this clears it up.

Ted Foan said...

Iain - having been sorely disappointed, on this occasion, by my nightly excursion into Chris Paul's blog I thought I'd have a quick look to see if you'd had time after your stint on the BBC News Channel (kerching!) to moderate my earlier comment.

Imagine my pleasure to find not one but two responses to my modest effort to lighten the load of the late night blog-respondees.

First, to Annonymous at 11.08pm, my humble apologies. How could I confuse Stockport (that well-known shit-hole as you so aptly describe it - is that where Chris Paul lives?) with that elegant, yet faded, Victorian jewel that is Southport? Mea culpa!

But Wrinkled Weasel at 11.53pm has to take the biscuit - that's a funny expression in it's own right - for his explanation of the flabber/gasted question. Masterly!

Iain, you are indeed privileged to have such erudite respondents on your blog.

Anonymous said...

On the 42 day issue, the simple fact is that the Government has yet to convince me that this would stop a single terror attack, or would have stopped one.

The example of Churchill and Moseley has been brought up. There is no evidence that Moseley would have led a fifth column once war was declared, unlike the spineless CPGB under Pollitt, who was not interred.

Of course, if you really want to follow the example of the World Wars, you would have to support the locking up of all British Muslims as potential fifth-columnists. This, 'as any fule no', would be impossible, not to mention hardly conducive to good community relations.

By all means continue to pursue terrorists, but until the present laws are proved to be inadequate, I will not support giving the Government draconian powers that will remain on the statute books for the forseeable future.

Anonymous said...

What a Grade A tosser. Obviously loyalty means nothing to Byrom. To let himself be paraded by the Lab Party and made to look a total ar*ehole by Labour in the way they have used him in their press release they must have offered him something big. Who knows nice Parliamentary or European seat or perhaps soon he'll be Lord Byrom! Glad to see he has such principles and values.

Mulligan said...

Nice picture, is he out campaigning in Henley for his new best friends?

Anonymous said...

Another Tory career politician? Now there's a surprise!

Anonymous said...

The guy is a well known pompous, verbose, self important, has been.

And obviously stupid and arrogant as well, hence his inability to see how pathetic he has made himself.


Anonymous said...

Gerard Charmley said...
"unlike the spineless CPGB under Pollitt, who was not interred."

Maybe he wasn't INTERRED because he wasn't dead.

Mosley was INTERNED because he and his supporters were judged to be plotting to undermine the war effort.

Anonymous said...

I see he is the member for Dukes Ward. And with a top hat like that, it couldn't really be anything else, could it? :¬)

Anonymous said...

Comrades, I've got Les Byrom's election address from the Knowsley South by-election. Les is pleased to see the community charge/poll tax!

Nich Starling said...

Its a similar case to some of the Lib Dem to Tory defections, but I didn't see you so critical of them.