Lib Dem couple resign over ‘bland’ manifesto
TWO Sefton councillors have quit the Liberal Democrats after growing disillusioned with the party.
Cllrs Bill and Marianne Welsh, who both represent the Norwood Ward, have resignedfrom the party.
The married couple also pointed towards how an internal complaint was handled by the party to explain their issue.
Marianne has been a councillor in Sefton since 2011, while Bill was elected in 2016, and their departure comes weeks after Cllr Tony Dawson was suspended from the party.
The Welshes explained that their decision came after a lot of time and thought and was triggered by various issues.
As well as the internal issue, the pair pointed towards the local campaign for the General Election and manifesto policies such as increasing tax and leagalising cannabis.
Bill said: “We haven’t been very happy with the party’s poli- cies for quite some time and added on to that there was an issue which has been rankling away for the last year.”
He said they were most unhappy with how that issue had been handled by the party and with the direction it was taking nationally.
“Essentially, I thought the Liberal Democrat manifesto was pretty bland. Then there was the proposal to have an income tax rise by adding a penny to each bandban band, it seems to us that’s hitting the ‘just-aboutmanaging’ and is regressive.
“I joined the Lib Dems in 2002 at the time of the Iraq War when I didn’t like what was happening with New Labour.
“I wanted to get involved in politics then and at the time the Lib Dems were a centre-left party but I don’t think that’s the case anymore.”
“We’ve had a long think about it and decided we didn’t want to be involved in the party any more.”
Despite their departures, Bill Welsh argued that there is no wider discontent in the local party and said morale remains strong despite dropping to third place in Southport in the recent General Election.
However, Marianne did comment that residents’ feedback from that campaign had added to their discontent.
“I didn’t think that what the L Lib Dems were doing in Southport was right. We had residents complaining about the amount of literature we sent out and we felt embarassed by that.
“I wasn’t involved to the extent I normally would be but I could hear from Bill what people were saying and it was clear they weren’t happy.”
The pair have already been c contacted about joining an group of independent councillors but say they are in no rush to make a decision on their future and are instead focusing o on helping their residents.
Marianne, who also thanked her residents for their support during her recent ill health, said: “We will continue to represent our residents in the ward. They come to us anyway regardless of political view.
“At the moment, we’re not thinking of anything (in terms of joining another party), we’re just wanting to see how things go, to see how we find things as independents.”
Resigned: Lib Dem Cllrs Marianne and Bill Welsh