I was sad to see today that a Lib Dem councillor had defected to the Conservatives. Cllr Nigel Clarke was elected two years ago as the Brentwood West Lib Dem on the borough council but he has decided to walk across the floor for reasons that he has kept onto himself.
Personally speaking I find this outrageous. Not just because he’s a Lib Dem who has decided to move on but because he is now not standing for the same values as when he was elected. If he truly believes his political ideals have changed then you can’t argue with that. What you should then do is resign your seat and a by-election called. I think this should be the case in any situation where a person leaves/joins a political party whilst they are an elected official.
I heard the news earlier today and it has been confirmed by the head of the Lib Dems on the Council David Kendell who went on to say the following:
“I am naturally disappointed that Cllr Clarke has made this decision as I believe he has not only let down his friends and colleagues but has also let down the many hundreds of residents in Brentwood West who voted for him in good faith as a Liberal Democrat. I believe that over time he may well come to regret his decision when he realises the local Conservatives are unable to meet his expectations.
“The remaining six members of the Liberal Democrat group remain totally united and focused on holding the Conservatives to account, questioning their decisions and providing constructive opposition”.
When I heard the news my gut reaction was pretty clear. This is what I wrote at the time, ‘Am I just being a complete cynic when I think he’s done this to safe his own hide and that his seat will be safer if he changes hats for when he is up for re-election in two years? If he changed hats too close to his election people might see through it. Ok I’m far too much of a cynic…‘ and you know what I stick by that.
Give up being a Lib Dem by all means that is his right. However he is now not representing the people who voted for him and therefore he cannot claim one iota that he has a mandate. If he had any decency then he would resign and stand as a Tory in the by-election. If the people didn’t care what colours he wore then he would get re-elected. However it seems as though he is actually pretty gutless and he’ll stay on as a councillor until 2014 when he is up for re-election.
It is a real shame as people feel genuinely betrayed by this. You vote for someone and something and then the someone and something you voted for turned out to be the complete opposite on Ronseal. It most certainly didn’t do exactly what it said on the tin. And people wonder why people lose all faith in politicians…
If you get round to googling yourself Cllr Nigel Clarke and read this then grow some cojones and do the right thing. Quit and stand as a Tory. If you get in then that is fine but as of right now you are not representing those who elected you and that is a pretty shocking state of affairs. How would you like it if you voted someone into office only for them to turn around and change everything they stood for? I suspect you wouldn’t like it on the other foot somehow.
I don’t just say this because he is a Lib Dem. I truly think that if you are elected then you are elected both personally and for what you stand for. If that changes then you should quit and stand again under whatever new banner you want to stand under. Carrying on in office is like carrying on your role under false pretences.
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