They say there’s no zealot like a convert, and Cllr Sue Perkins is living proof.
The former Leader of the county council’s Labour Group, “Was-red-now-blue” Sue, presently occupies the elevated position of Cabinet member for safeguarding children, from which lofty perch she likes to lecture we mere mortals on subjects as wide-ranging as the code of conduct and restorative practice.
The amazing thing is that Sue is still a member of the Labour Party despite signing up for the IPPG.
Old Grumpy always understood that Labour party rules resulted in the automatic suspension of anyone that joined another political group.
One can only assume that her friends in high places are protecting her from this fate.
Not so fortunate was Cllr Pearl Llewellyn who defected from Labour to the IPG (as it was then known) back in 2006 and was promptly thrown out of the party.
At the time, a Labour party high-up was quoted as saying: “This is the third time Cllr Pearl Llewellyn has changed sides and crossed the floor when it suited her. She has shown a complete lack of loyalty – to her party and to Pembrokeshire.
“Pembrokeshire and, indeed, Monkton Ward deserves better. Let me assure the people of Monkton the Labour Party will be selecting a Labour candidate to stand against Cllr Llewellyn at the next county council elections.”
As you’ve probably guessed already , the Labour party spokesperson was, um, er, Cllr Sue Perkins.
Cllr Sue was again on the warpath – she has a nice line in outrage – when her deputy leader Cllr Ken Rowlands jumped ship just before the 2008 elections and rose swiftly to Cabinet rank.
According to the Western Telegraph Cllr Perkins had sent an email to Cllr Rowlands in which she said:
“I believed that as ‘a man of the cloth’ – a lay preacher who from the pulpit talks of faith, loyalty and trust – that you would practise what you preach. I hope you are happy with your 30 pieces of silver.”
And, as for Cllr Rowlands’ two fellow defectors Cllrs Umelda Havard and Lyndon Frayling, the email email described them as “co-conspirators”.
Hard to believe all four (five including Cllr Pearl Llewellyn) are now loyal members of the same political party.
Or that Sue now shares the education portfolio with the man she once compared to Judas.
Ah, the restorative healing powers of a £15,000 SRA!
You might think that, given her past record, Cllr Sue would keep her head down and get on with her job.
But, not a bit of it!
Whenever the IPPG is in trouble she is on her feet vigorously defending her new party against its critics.
At Thursday’s debate on the vote of no confidence, she told us she was no fan of the Chief Executive and that the last time there had been such a motion she had voted against him. But that was then, and this was no time for change.
Thanks to the wonders of the webcam, I can tell you exactly what she said:
“I voted against the Chief Executive in 2010 … after the CSSIW reports came out [2011 actually] and I wanted to do it again a couple of years later, but I didn’t have the support”, she told council.
As the member who proposed the no confidence motion, that didn’t chime with my recollection of events, but when someone makes a confident assertion, and you are relying solely on memory, they are not easy to contradict.
However when I consulted the minutes on the council’s website I found that the extraordinary meeting where the no confidence motion in the Chief Executive was debated was held in September 2011.
A quick check of the recorded vote shows that Cllr Sue has quickly adapted to the IPPG’s easy way with the truth because she voted against my proposal.
Not only that, she also led her Labour troops (with the honourable exception of Kate Becton) through the no lobby.
As for her desire to unseat the Chief Executive “a couple of years later”, that is also the product of her overwrought imagination because within nine months of the extraordinary meeting in September 2011 she had settled her posterior on one of the comfortable leather chairs in the Cabinet room.
During trips on the rugby bus, we used to sing a song that might have been especially written for Cllr Perkins.
Sung to the tune of the Red Flag, the only bit I can still remember goes:
The working class,
May kiss my ass,
I’ve got the foreman’s job at last.