Cllr Ken Dobson has left the Lib Dem Group on Manhester City Council and will sit as an Independent. He says it is in protest at spending cuts by the coalition Government.
However Cllr Simon Ashley, who is leader of the Lib Dem Group on the Labour-run Council, says:
“There’s never been any conversation about national policy or cuts or the coalition government. The real fact of the matter is that Ken has only attended 44% of the Council, Committees and Ward meetings he should have, and as a result the Party has not reapproved him to stand for us next May. We have a minimum stipulation that councillors must attend 66%. Ken’s way off that and he knows it. He’s taken the hump.”
The more general point remains how few Lib Dem councillors have quit over the coalition Government. Three councillors have switched from the Lib Dems to the Conservatives – one in Windsor and Maidenhead and one in North Norfolk.There was also one I had missed before from Newcastle-under-Lyme that Cllr Raymond Slater has leeft the Lib Dems to join the Conservatives. Welcome aboard and well spotted Indigo Public Affairs.
One of the Lib Dem councillors in Barnsley thought about switching to Labour but seems to have decidednot to. A couple of Lib Dem councillors in Exeter defected to Labour – but that prompted a Labour councillor there to defect to the Conservatives in response. Also Lib Dem councillor in Liverpool has defected to Labour and a Lib Dem councillor in South Hams defect to the Green Party. There has also been a Slough Labour councillor switching to the Conservatives.
So just as many Lib Dem councillors have defected to us as to Labour (three each.) While in terms of defections overall the Conservatives have done better than Labour since the General Election. The important point is that of the 4,300 Lib Dem councillors the number of defections is yet to reach double figures. This suggest there may be rather less discontent in the party about the Coalition Government than might have been expected.