Friday, 24 October 2008

Treason season??

. Liberal Democrat Voice carries news about a defection in Harrogate which has cost the Lib Dems control of that council. Meanwhile, Conservative Home carries more news of yet more councillors leaving the Lib Dem fold;

More defection news. Two Lib Dem councillors on Shropshire Council have joined the Conservatives. Tony Durnell, borough councillor for Monkmoor, and David Farmer, ward member for Bagley, have both signed up as party members and are expected to stand in their new colours as candidates for Shropshire Council elections in 2009. Councillor Farmer says:

“I have become disillusioned with the Liberal Democrat party nationally and feel they have lost their way, and I believe the Conservatives are the way forward. I hope my constituents understand the reasons behind my decision – I have always done my best to represent them over the past 14 years and I have voted on the issues and not with the party line. I hope to continue to represent them.”

Councillor Durnell says:

“It would have been against my principles to try getting voted on to the new Shropshire Council as a Liberal Democrat and then join the Conservatives. I believe I’m being fair and honest with everyone doing this now, and I will still be doing everything I can for people in the Monkmoor ward.”

I understand that Daniel Kawczynski, their local Tory MP for Shrewsbury, will formally welcome them into the fold next week.

I think, to be honest that if a councillor is elected under party colours then a resignation should automatically trigger a by-election for the sake of democracy.


Costigan Quist said...

I'm sure this argument's bounced around for as long as there's been party politics.

In theory, we elect individuals to represent us: party affiliation wasn't even shown on the ballot paper until the late '60s. In reality, we know more people vote for the party these days.

Whenever someone defects, the party they defect from call for them to stand down and trigger a by-election; whils the party they defect to welcomes them with open arms and does no such thing.

There's an argument both ways, but until the parties take a consistent line, nothing's going to change and no-one's going to take them seriously on the issue anyway.

Darrell G said...


I can see your point and yes there is an argument both ways but what really jarred with me was what Durnell said; the bottom line is no I dont think he is being above board because he is still serving a year of his term under a different party to the one that elected him.

I think as Lib Dems we have to be consistent in these things (one of Camerons more credible attacks on Brown is that he lacks Prime Ministerial mandate for example) and we are calling for things like fixed term parliaments rightly which make elected representatives more accountable. Councillors should be accountable if they switch parties.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

I think you are right about Cllr Durnell, but then [tribalism]as he's joined the Conservatives, it's doubtful he has any principles[/tribalism].