Ian Cruise was first elected to represent Longbridge ward for Labour on Birmingham City Council in 2010. He retained his seat in 2014, beating Conservative candidate Derek Johnson by just 71 votes.
Cllr Cruise had already said on Twitter that he planned to stand down in 2018 when his current term ends.
In a statement issued to B31 Voices, Cllr Cruise explains his decision to leave the Labour Party, saying: “Longbridge Ward residents if they haven’t already, will become aware of my decision to leave the Labour Party and the Birmingham Labour Group on the City Council to become an Independent Councillor. The decision was taken after much thought and many conversations with those close to me, and was made in light of my chronic depression. Being a part of the Labour Party and Birmingham Labour Group was taking a toll on my health and wellbeing.”
In the statement, Cllr Cruise goes on to reassure Longbridge residents that he will continue to serve them until 2018. He said: “My decision does not affect any of the duties I perform as a Councillor. I will still hold advice desks, attend meetings, take on casework for residents and be the voice of residents on Birmingham City Council, continue to challenge Council leaders when policies affect residents of Longbridge Ward.”
On Cllr Cruise’s decision, deputy leader of the Birmingham Labour Group, Cllr Ian Ward said: “I understand that Ian has felt under pressure for some time and he must put his health and well-being first. I hope that after some time out and a much needed break he will reconsider his position.”