A BASINGSTOKE councillor who resigned from the Labour party following the general election has returned.

Cllr Carolyn Wooldridge, who is a ward member for Norden, joined the Basingstoke and Deane Independents on December 13, along with 10 other Labour and Independent members.

However, she announced today (Friday, January 10), that she "immediately realised... it was a big mistake".

“I'd like to thank all my colleagues in the Labour Party for trusting me again and welcoming me back as a Labour Party member and Labour Councillor," Cllr Wooldridge said.

“I agreed to join Basingstoke and Deane Independents, but it was always with huge reservations as I was torn between loyalty to my Norden colleagues and loyalty to the party I had been a member of since 1992. After the public launch on December 13th, I immediately realised that for me it was a big mistake.

“I joined the Labour Party in 1992 supporting their core values of fairness, equality of opportunity and social justice, and I wanted to work to get rid of a Tory Government.

“Now, more than ever, the country needs an effective and united opposition at both a local and national level to make this happen.

"The Labour Party is a broad church and, under the current electoral system of first-past-the-post, it is the only alternative party of government to the Tories and the only vehicle for bringing about effective social change."

It comes just a week before an extraordinary meeting of the full council to decide on the council's committees make-up, following the break-away group.

Basingstoke Gazette:

It now means that Labour now has 13 of the 60 borough councillors, with the Independent Forum, made up of the BDIs and Independent Member, on 11.

The Liberal Democrats have 7 councillors, and the Conservatives are on 29 - the largest party but without a voting majority.

Cllr Wooldridge continued: “With all the challenges that the country faces at the moment, this is not a time to be inward-looking and to hold up the white flag. On the contrary, now is when we need to hold onto hope, to come together, and stand up and be counted.

“At a time when Labour have been heavily defeated in a General Election, I want to play my part in helping the party to renew itself and to develop a positive alternative vision that people can get behind for the benefit not just of residents in Norden but for the town and, indeed, the country as a whole.”

Cllr Ian Tilbury, leader of the BDIs, said: "We’re sorry to lose her and respect her decision."