Following the burst of new party members in reaction to Jeremy Corbyn’s continued dalliance with Brexit, and then a former Conservative MEP joining the party, now we have an independent councillor in Somerset switching too.
Cllr Mike Rigby has joined the Liberal Democrats, saying:
I was elected as an Independent and have enjoyed the freedom that independence has provided, choosing which battles to fight.
However, I have reached the position where some of the things I want to achieve for our community can best be delivered as a member of a major political group.
Some time ago, the Liberal Democrats generously invited me into the County Council Shadow Cabinet.
I have appreciated the deeper insight this position has afforded me and enjoyed working within the team.
For some time, I have found myself travelling on parallel lines to the Liberal Democrats with little difference between our beliefs and policy direction so, in the end, it has not been a difficult decision to join the Lib Dems.
We share views on all of the big local issues, including inadequate funding of local government and the dangers of outsourcing.
We also agree on national policy issues including the economy, health and the biggest issue of the lot; Brexit, which I consider to be an historic mistake, riddled with illegality and which I feel an obligation to continue to oppose.
Mike Rigby’s decision was welcomed by Jane Lock, Liberal Democrat leader on Somerset County Council:
Mike strengthens our position further on the County Council as we continue to oppose damaging cuts to the services for Somerset’s residents. We share values and principles with Mike, a councillor who will continue to work hard for his Lydeard Division residents and all of Somerset.
Councillor Neil Bloomfield joined us from the Conservatives less than six months ago, citing his disappointment in the direction of travel and lack of compassion of the Tory party.
Gideon Amos, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Taunton Deane added:
Sensible people across the spectrum now recognise the Lib Dems are offering the positive and constructive alternative the country needs. Cllr Mike Rigby will hugely strengthen our Taunton Deane Lib Dem team and I’m delighted to welcome him on board.