Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Will independents replace Lib Dems as the only alternative?

In at least 14 local authorities Independents are fielding more candidates than the Liberal Democrats.

Independents do not enjoy the support or coordination of a national party, however in 14 councils where candidates have affiliated with the Independent Network, independents are fielding more candidates than their Lib Dem counterparts. The Liberal Democrats have fielded no candidates for Uttoxeter Town Council, Halstead Town Council, Nantwich Town Council, Buntingford Town Council, Castlepoint Borough Council, Morley Town Council and Melton Borough Council.

In Stoke on Trent City Council 52 independent candidates are being fielded as opposed to only 43 Lib Dems. In Boston Borough Council 30 independents are being fielded as opposed to 5 Lib Dems. A particularly stark contrast is found in Morley Town Council where 24 independent are standing for election with no Lib Dem contenders.

Sitting Liberal Democrat councillors have also been resigning their party membership ahead of standing for re-election. In Eastleigh Borough Council Cllr Moore quit the Lib Dems to form the ‘Independent Party of Eastleigh Candidates’.

Cllr Moore’s election leaflets state:

‘The trouble with being in a National Political Party is you have to go along with the Party line… even if that line is not honest. As Independents we do not have to toe anyone’s line. We can represent YOU honestly. […] And we are not alone. A long-serving Lib Dem Borough Councillor in Romsey (10 years Sandra Gidley MP’s Researcher) has declared Independent. There are 10 Lib Dem councillors on the Isle of Wight who are now Independent and so many more up and down the country. We are growing in strength. Don’t throw away your vote on people who lie to you.”

Martin Bell OBE – supporter of the Independent Network – the only political organisation to support independent candidates at all levels of government said:

“This is a time for independents to challenge the politics of the status quo; it is a time for independent candidates either to stand together in Independent Groups or to help in the campaigns of others. It is a time for the election of independents, without party baggage but with real world experience, to be a force for honest politics in local government. They will be answerable not to a political party but only to their constituents and their consciences.”

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