Lib Dems question councillor’s motives

Lib Dems question councillor’s motives

THE LIBERAL Democrats have questioned a Nailsea councillor’s motives after he announced he was leaving the party to stand as an independent councillor in the next election.

Andy Cole, who has represented Nailsea East as a Liberal Democrat on North Somerset Council for the past 16 years, said he no longer wanted to be ‘hamstrung by national party policy’ and claims he can do more for local residents by going independent.

But councillor Edward Keating, deputy group leader of the LibDems, claimed Cllr Cole stepped down as he did not wish to discuss his achievements as a councillor.

He said: “The party has asked everyone wishing to stand for election as a LibDem in May to go through an application process involving an interview.

“Where interviewees are standing councillors, the interview intentionally looks at that person’s record as a ward councillor and is very much like an appraisal you might have at work to ensure you are doing the job properly.

“It is confusing that Cllr Cole does not wish to discuss his record of working for the residents of Nailsea East ward as he is always claiming to do a good job for them.”

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However, Cllr Cole has stressed that he does not have a problem with the party’s approval process, but instead refused to sign a new contract brought in by the Liberal Democrats which he claims imposes national policies on local politics.

In response to Cllr Keating’s comments he said: “That’s complete nonsense. I’ve stood in previous elections four times and at each one I have gone through the approval process and I’m happy to do it again.

“The party has now brought in a contract that all candidates have to sign. The contract is littered with national Lib Dem party ideology and dogma and has precious little to do with local authority government. It was for this reason I decided to stand as an independent candidate as there was no way I was going to sign such a misguided document.”