Lib Dem cou­ple re­sign over ‘bland’ man­i­festo

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Active - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @jamie_lopez1

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

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