It’s not only this week’s council by-elections which have shifted the political balance in places. There’s also been two cases of councillors changing political allegiance.
In South Norfolk, Des Fulcer has joined the Lib Dems.
As the local party says,
Des Fulcher, one of two District Councillors for South Norfolk Council’s Stratton ward, has joined the Liberal Democrat Group at the Council.
Des had been elected as a Conservative in 2015, but resigned from the Conservatives in 2017, since when he had been an Independent.
The Liberal Democrat Group at South Norfolk Council therefore increases from six to seven councillors, the balance of the 46 councillors being Conservative.
Des lives in Long Stratton. He has the unusual occupation of being a pyrotechnician, running public and private firework displays. He also undertakes consultancy work in the Facilities Management industry and is the Immediate Past National Councillor for the ‘41 Club’ in this region, part of the worldwide Round Table Family organisation (which began in Norwich over 90 years ago). Des has been organized or been involved in many charitable events in Norfolk, most recently launching a major Halloween event – Spooks & Sparks in the Park – which helped raise funds for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices.
Cllr Des Fulcher said, “I was working hard for the local community long before I was asked to stand for South Norfolk Council. Once elected, however, I found that the way that certain local Tories run South Norfolk Council was not for me, and so I left them to become an Independent Councillor. I have increasingly found more sympathy with the Council’s Liberal Democrats’ policies and style. With the Liberal Democrats, I believe a more balanced and considerate approach can be given toward the needs of every resident in my Stratton ward.”
Cllr Trevor Lewis, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at South Norfolk Council, said, “We are very pleased to welcome Des Fulcher to the Liberal Democrat Group. He topped the ward poll in the 2015 South Norfolk Council elections, which clearly shows his strong local support. People know he does a lot for the local community. Long Stratton and the adjoining villages are facing huge changes from planned new development, and they need a strong local voice to make sure it’s done properly.”
In Three Rivers Council, however, the party has lost a councillor:
A Three Rivers Liberal Democrat councillor has defected to another party due to holding “incompatible” views.
Alison Wall became a councillor for the Durrants Ward in Croxley Green in 2014 – despite voting Conservative on a national basis.
She wanted to get involved in the party as she felt the Lib Dems were doing “good work” locally…
Liberal Democrat councillor and leader of the council Sara Bedford believes Ms Wall should “stand down” following her change of heart.
She said: “It has become evident in recent months that Alison holds views that are incompatible with membership of the Liberal Democrat group.
“Alison should now have the courage of her convictions and stand down to fight her seat under her new colours. There would be no cost to council taxpayers, as there is an ordinary election already scheduled for May 3.
“In the past year the Lib Dems in Three Rivers have won three by-elections, gaining two of those seats from the Conservatives. It is clear that when residents get a vote more and more are choosing the Liberal Democrats to represent them.”