Political

Conservative councillor and former Conservative special adviser both join Lib Dems

Conservative councillor Mark McGeever has joined the Liberal Democrats:

On joining the Liberal Democrats, Mark McGeever said:

When I joined the Conservatives under David Cameron, the party had made clear its intent to govern from the centre of British politics. It is a matter of deep regret that over recent years this broad outlook has given way to a much narrower and more ideological focus as the party has focused on appeasing the insatiable demands of the party’s rightmost fringe.

The elevation of Mr Johnson to the Conservative leadership was an open declaration the party now has little regard for centrist views. His use of racist, Islamophobic, misogynistic and homophobic language is deeply concerning. He has failed to stand up for a British diplomat subject to abuse from President Trump and refused to answer basic questions on the crisis facing the UK.

I have not changed my principles since being elected to South Lanarkshire Council and standing in the last general election, but the party for which I stood has significantly changed its nature. It would be disingenuous for me to pretend my views still have a place within it.

For these reasons I am glad to have joined the Liberal Democrats. As a member of that progressive party I will continue to represent my constituents to the very best of my ability, working to protect public services, and to deliver responsive and responsible local government for everyone in South Lanarkshire.

Also joining the Lib Dems is Simon Bishop, a Conservative special adviser at the Department for International Development, 2014-16. He’s now a Liberal Democrat member:

Six months ago, I decided to quit the Conservative Party if Boris Johnson became its leader and prime minister. I’m not only sticking to that pledge but going further and defecting to the Liberal Democrats…

Critical to my decision, in the Liberal Democrats we have a party with the right values, leadership, political will and ideas to make Britain world-class again.

I had the privilege to work in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition from 2014-2015 and saw first-hand their willingness to fight for what was right for the country, at the expense, of course, of their own popularity and electoral success.

At the heart of those efforts was Jo Swinson, a genuine values-led leader, with the courage to do the right thing for Britain.

She – and the wider party – have bold plans on housing, social care, generational inequality and other major challenges of the day. They want to reduce poverty and inequality. [The Independent]

Welcome, Mark and Simon.

Their decisions reinforce the regular picture from council by-elections. There’s one party that is successfully winning over support from the Conservatives, taking votes and seats away from them. It isn’t the official Opposition.

Oddly, some of the keenest of Corbyn supporters like to attack the Lib Dems for picking up support from the Conservatives. Quite how they imagine that Labour is ever going to win power in Westminster if winning over support from the Conservatives is to be despised, I don’t know.

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