Political

Conservative councillor Paul Marment joins Liberal Democrats in Hertfordshire

News from North Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats of a new recruit to the Liberal Democrats: Councillor Paul Marment, formerly of the Conservatives.

Regular readers will know about my strictures over cherry picking good news when it comes to local council by-elections: pick the set of contests you are going to report on and then report all the results from those contests. Otherwise if you, say, don’t report on all parish council contests but only report select ones then you can easily end up with a very skewed picture. If you follow Lib Dem Voice‘s coverage for example, you will read there about parish council gains that I don’t mention, but on the other hand you’ll also just about only ever hear about gains the Lib Dems make at that level. The reality for those contests very much is not that the only seat changes are Lib Dem gains. If you want to know what is going on overall (which is not the only motivation for writing or reading coverage, of course), that partial picture is a problem.

You might at this point be reasonably raising the same objection to my reports of couuncillors switching parties. But fear not. I have in the last few months started a comprehensive round-up of both the gains and loses to the Liberal Democrats from such switches in the monthly Liberal Democrat Newswire. Sign up here to get them in future too.

Back now to North Hertfordshire. The local party reports:

Cllr Paul Marment (Letchworth Grange) has joined the Liberal Democrats from the Conservative party.

Cllr Marment explains why he left the Conservative Party: “Since the end of the coalition, which I felt was one of the most productive times for this county in recent memory, I have been struggling with the Conservative parties polices at local and national level. With the increasing move to the left and right of both main parties and the increasing levels of xenophobia coupled with ongoing issues locally with Hitchin Town Hall and the brown bin collections which is now becoming yet another fiasco.

“Therefore  I have decided to return to the Liberals who I supported in my youth. This was not an easy decision to make and I apologise to those on the Grange Estate who voted for me because of my party allegiance but I believe my reasons are justified and I will still deal with their concerns and problems.

“I believe that the Liberal Democrats represent a modern view and offer the way forward for this country especially for the young who voted overwhelmingly against Brexit. For me the party represents true localism and see being a member of the European Union as a force for good and for true integration rather than the outmoded attitudes of the 20th Century that led to two world wars.”

Cllr Paul Clark (Leader of the Liberal Democrats Group on North Hertfordshire District Council) stated: “This is great news not just for the Liberal Democrats but also for the people of Letchworth. As a party we expect our councillors to work extremely hard for the people they represent and we are all looking forward to working with Paul. We would welcome conversations with other councillors from either the Conservative or Labour groups who share our views, and like Paul want to work hard all year round for the people they represent.”

The Liberal Democrats group on North Herts District Council doubled in size following the local elections in May, and the arrival of Paul Marment takes the group to seven councillors. Marment, who has lived in Letchworth for fifty years, has represented the Grange ward for eight years (from 2008-2012 and from 2015 to date). He will continue to do so, but now as part of the Liberal Democrat group.