A Green Party spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, Simon has taken the decision to resign from the party on Wednesday, 3rd August. It is unfortunate that Simon has not spoken to the party to date and we now know he has moved to another party.”
The party wishes to thank Simon for his work and wish him best for the future, the Green spokesperson added.
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Announcing his decision to defect, councillor Lee said: “I have been impressed by the leadership of people like Colum Eastwood, Claire Hanna and Matthew O’Toole for a long time now and I’ve worked really well with my friend and colleague councillor John Gallen in Castlereagh South since 2019. In many ways, this feels like the perfect fit.”
Councillor Lee continued: “I’ve always considered myself a social democrat and have been motivated by using the power of government to level the playing field for working people and those in need of the most support. My values align with the vision and values of the SDLP.”
SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna said she was “chuffed” that Councillor Lee has joined her party.
She said: “Since he was first elected in 2019, he has worked well with our team and particularly with councillor John Gallen on local issues of mutual concern as well as sharing our values and vision on important issues like Brexit, resourcing public services and addressing the climate crises.
“Simon is a first class public representative, an incredibly hard worker.”