Councillor speaks up on Party fallout

A COUNCILLOR has spoken of his sadness at being booted out of his Party.

Ian Lindley, who represents Morpeth Stobhill on Northumberland County Council, announced earlier this year that while he remained a Liberal Democrat, he would not join the county’s political group as he was unhappy with its leadership.

Now he has been told that his decision has fallen foul of Party rules and his Liberal Democrat membership has been revoked.

However, Coun Lindley says that Rothbury member Steven Bridgett has been a non-aligned Liberal Democrat for the past five years.

And he said that it was only when he asked to see papers for the candidacy to replace Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith that it became an issue.

“It is a very sad situation,” he said.

“I was struggling to stay with the Party right through its administration of the council. I knew we were going to get slaughtered at the May election and I said that if the group re-elected the same leadership there was no way I could stay in it.

“Come May, it did elect the same leadership by a margin of one vote so I chose to withdraw and serve as a non-aligned Liberal Democrat.

“It was not an abnormal situation. Steven Bridgett has been in that situation for five years and he has continued to retain that status.

“I put in to have a look at the papers to potentially apply to stand for Alan Beith’s seat and that is when I got a telephone call. From that point, the decision was taken to throw me out.”

Coun Lindley joined the Party in 2006 and was elected for Stobhill in 2007, 2008 and 2013. He said he wrote the Party’s county manifesto and was selected for a national leadership course. He served as an Executive member at the county council throughout the Lib Dem Administration.

Now he may stand against the Party at the next Parliamentary election.

“I will probably stand as an Independent in 2015. I don’t expect to win, but why shouldn’t people have that option?” he said.

In the meantime, Coun Lindley says he will continue to work alongside Lib Dem councillors for Stobhill.

“Before the election, I recruited three new people to join the Liberal Democrats to serve as town councillors and we have decided that we will approach Stobhill on an apolitical basis,” he said.

“I will continue to produce the residents’ newsletter and address the issues that develop in the area alongside the other councillors. I’m just going to carry on working for Stobhill.”

Liberal Democrat North East Party Chairman Ian Jones said: “Coun Lindley resigned from the recognised Lib Dem council group on Northumberland County Council and thus became noncompliant with the regulations governing elected Lib Dem councillors. Coun Lindley’s membership of the Liberal Democrats has been revoked. He is no longer a member of the Lib Dems.”