6 surreylive.news NEWS & MAIL WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2020 News Chowdhury quits Lib Dems after 27 years to join Conservatives DEFECTED BOROUGH COUNCILLOR SAYS NEW PARTY SHARES HIS COMMITMENT TO RESIDENTS and more pleasant place to live. “I wish nothing more than to put all of my abilities into the positive service of our residents and to work constructively towards making their lives better. “I look forward to finally joining a party which shares this commitment and will support me in doing so.” Conservatives said Cllr Chowdhury’s decision represents the first defection of a councillor in Rushmoor in 10 years and is thought to be only the second Lib Dem defection to the Conservative Party since the General Election, and the first in the South of England. Cllr Clifford said: “Abul has a heart to serve. He wants to do what is right for his residents and to make their lives better – he’ll fit in extremely well in our group. “We are a party open to all good and honest people with a desire to make our borough a better place to live.” Rushmoor Lib Dems said they were surprised and disappointed at Cllr Chowdhury’s decision to join the Conservatives. “Barely a month earlier he had put himself forward to represent the Liberal Democrat party as our candidate for South Farnborough in the 2021 county council elections,” they By STEPHEN LLOYD firstname.lastname@example.org @FleetNandM RUSHMOOR Liberal Democrats say they are “deeply saddened” and “disappointed” after a senior colleague defected to the Conservatives. Abul Chowdhury was the longest serving Lib Dem councillor on Rushmoor Borough Council (RBC), and had been a party member for 27 years. In an open letter to RBC leader David Clifford, Cllr Chowdhury said he was writing to express his desire to join the Conservative Group on RBC. He wrote: “I am a man of good faith, integrity and honesty, a person who loves serving our local community and someone determined to make a positive difference. “It has become apparent to me over the years of serving alongside you and your group that the Conservative Party are the only group in Rushmoor who share and respect these values. “I have been hugely impressed by the great progress and achievements I have seen Conservative-led Rushmoor making in regenerating our town centres, improving local services, supporting local businesses and in making our area a greener Cllr Abul Chowdhury has defected to the Conservatives added. “Unfortunately, Abul was not successful in his bid, but we had hoped that, regardless of who our members voted in as our candidate, he would continue to support us in our upcoming contest with the Conservatives. “Abul won the 2018 local election in St Marks, and the team have now won three elections in a row there, culminating in the election of Cllr Thomas Mitchell in the by-election last September. Local residents will be able to express their views at the ballot box in 2021, and the local Lib Dem campaign team, now led by Alan Hilliar and Thomas Mitchell, remain committed to fighting for a fairer society for all.” Alan Hilliar, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman for the Aldershot Constituency, said: “I’ve worked with Abul for several years on local community issues. We shared a deep commitment to fixing local problems, some of which have been unresolved by the Conservatives for many years. “I don’t know what’s led to Abul’s change of heart, but it’s left me feeling personally both saddened and disappointed. “I remain firmly committed to the Lib Dem vision for a greener, cleaner Cllr Thomas Mitchell has vowed to continue campaigning for residents on behalf of the Lib Dems Rushmoor with town centres that are vibrant and full of life, reflecting the character, history and diversity of our community.” Cllr Mitchell said: “I am deeply saddened by the news that Abul has changed parties. This came as a complete shock to both me and my wife Emily. “We had not been aware of any issues that could have lead to his decision to leave, and if he had spoken to me then I would have worked hard with him to resolve them. “We were just starting to see the effect of a strong opposition team on the Conservative-led council, and that is why Emily and I will continue to campaign on behalf of residents in North Camp and the wider Farnborough community.” I am a person who loves serving our local community and someone determined to make a positive difference... It has become apparent to me that the Conservative Party are the only group in Rushmoor who share and respect these values. Cllr Chowdhury was the longest serving Lib Dem councillor on Rushmoor Borough Council Cllr Abul Chowdhury PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED BY PRESSREADER PressReader.com +1 604 278 4604 . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW
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