Labour councillor quits party over Heathrow expansion

A Labour councillor in Bury St Edmunds, who twice stood for parliament, has quit the party over the expansion of Heathrow.

Cllr Mark Ereira-Guyer, who stood as Labour candidate in the general elections in 1997 and 2001, has announced today that he is joining the Green Party.

The 47-year-old first joined the Labour Party as a student in 1981 when he was 20, but said the decision by the Government earlier today to back a third runway at Heathrow was not something he could 'wear'.

"It is quite a momentous and sad day for me. My primary reason is the Government's decision on a third runway at Heathrow. I think it is a catastrophic mistake at a time when we should be leading the world and saving the planet. I do believe the impact it will have on the environment is going the wrong way."

He said he had enjoyed his time with the Labour party and felt it had achieved 'great things'.

"I even got a Christmas card from Gordon Brown and Sarah - but I can't wear this one," he said.

Cllr Ereira-Guyer, who was elected on to St Edmundsbury Borough Council in 1995 until 2003 and then re-elected in 2007, said the decision had nothing to do with local politics and he would continue to represent his ward, St Olaves.

"I'm still on the left side of politics - that is where I belong. I hope people will accept my decision. I feel as if I haven't left the Labour Party, but rather the Labour Party has left me."

Despite the move, he said he would continue to work closely with the borough's two remaining Labour councillors - fellow ward member and St Edmundsbury mayor Cllr Bob Cockle and Cllr David Lockwood.

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