Continuing a trend largely unremarked in the media, another councillor has joined the Liberal Democrats. This time the switch* is of a Conservative councillor in Somerset:
Liberal Democrats in West Somerset have welcomed Councillor Andy Kingston-James to their group, after he left the Conservative group and crossed the floor to the Lib Dems in Wednesday’s West Somerset Council meeting.
“I have joined the Liberal Democrats as their core beliefs in community and openness in politics are in parallel with mine. This is not a decision I have taken lightly, but the freedom to express my views and contribute to the bigger picture is important to me. I look forward to working with the local team for the benefit of Minehead and the new district council,” said Andy Kingston-James.
Councillor Peter Pilkington, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on West Somerset District council said, “I welcome the addition of Andy Kingston-James to our group. Having been elected in March 2017 as the sole Lib Dem on the council, to finish this May with four Lib Dems bodes well for democracy in West Somerset. I feel that with both the main parties disintegrating into chaos, fighting their own internal extremism, we shall be attracting more pragmatic sensible and rational people to the party with our values of creating a community in which “None shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity”.”
“This is a great day for the Liberal Democrats. We welcome Andrew on board and we are sure he will feel at home with us. We Lib Dems are proud to work together as a united party with well thought-out policies for the people of West Somerset,” said Parliamentary Spokesman Councillor Benet Allen.
The Liberal Democrats had no Councillors at the last council elections in 2015. Peter Pilkington was elected to represent Dunster and Timberscombe in the March 2017 by-election. Benet Allen won Minehead South in the February 2018 by-election and Councillor Nicole Hawkins was elected in the June 2018 by-election for Alcombe ward.
* Yes, rule #2b applies.