A RE-ELECTED Labour councillor has blamed the Green Party for the defeat of a party colleague in Halesowen’s Belle Vale ward.

Cllr Hillary Bills attacked the Greens for fielding candidates in key marginals where they failed to electioneer and inform voters of their policies.

The Halesowen North councillor said her victory at the polls last Thursday was marred by the loss of “hardworking” Donella Russell who was beaten by Conservative Laura Taylor in Belle Vale by just 13 votes.

Green candidate Jon Hartless polled 9.5 per cent of the votes, but Cllr Bills said the result of his 302 votes was that Labour lost.

She said: “Consequently the Green voters lost a Labour Party councillor with a very clear policy of protecting the greenbelt, the development of brownfield sites and no fracking in Dudley.

“What the Green voters have given us is another Conservative councillor whose party in government has no respect for the protection of the greenbelt and has removed the council’s veto against fracking in Dudley. I’m sure that wasn’t their intention but that is what they have got.”

Defeated Netherton, Woodside and St Andrews Green candidate Bill McComish, who failed to hang onto Dudley Council’s only Green seat, hit back saying the Tories won Belle Vale because there was no UKIP candidate to split their vote.

He said it was a disappointing night for his party, adding:

“We don’t blame other parties for our losses. Other parties had a straightforward message that the voters found more popular and we did not get our message across.

“As a small party we had to concentrate on the most likely seats we could win – that was not Belle Vale and we directed our leaflets elsewhere.”

Mr McComish added his party would regroup and move forward.