Clive Eginton, (right in the picture) a Liberal Democrat member of Mid Devon District Council, has this week defected to the Conservatives after seven years as a Lib Dem councillor – and 31 years as a Liberal/Lib Dem party activist.
He was welcomed to the Tory fold by Mel Stride (left in the picture), the Conservative candidate for the newly drawn Central Devon constituency at the general election.
Cllr. Eginton said that his decision had “not been taken lightly”, but that he “firmly believed” that it was the right one:
“There have been two main reasons behind my decision. Firstly, the Conservative group that is now running MDDC in conjunction with independent councillors has been making real progress in resolving the many challenges facing the council and I want to play an active and positive role in supporting this work.
“My second reason relates to the General Election. I have always admired and respected Nick Harvey as our local MP but boundary changes now mean that Nick will not be on the ballot paper for us at the next election because we will be in the new constituency of Central Devon.
“Over the last few years I have found myself being impressed with the hard work and commitment of the Conservative parliamentary candidate Mel Stride and of the various Party candidates for Central Devon Mel is, in my view, by far the strongest candidate.
“I have come to know him over the years and I am confident that if we elect him he will provide us all with a powerful and effective voice in parliament. There are going to be tough times ahead after the next election and I would personally like to see Mel as the person standing up for us in Westminster.”
> Earlier in the year, Mel Stride welcomed a former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate onto his campaign team.