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Politics: Lib Dem voters "betrayed and hurt" following defection

Contributed by editor on Jun 30, 2007 - 10:13 AM

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After reading a story published in this week's Romney Marsh Herald that local councillor Sue Ashworth was planning to join the Tories, Lib Dem group leader Lynne Beaumont spoke with Cllr Ashworth who confirmed that she did indeed intend joining the Conservative Group on Shepway District Council in July.

The local Lib Dem group said in a statement; "We would fully understand if, like us, the voters of New Romney Coast felt angry, betrayed and hurt at Councillor Ashworth's decision.

"Shepway Liberal Democrats have a long and sustained record of campaigning on what many regard as the main issue in New Romney Coast - opposition to the expansion of Lydd Airport. Building on that track record Sue Ashworth stood just 7 weeks ago as a Liberal Democrat candidate for New Romney Coast ward. She won the election, with Cllr Val Loseby, on a Liberal Democrat platform with the airport as the main issue of her campaign. A number of local Conservative politicians seem to be more sympathetic to the airport's runway expansion plans.

"In joining the Liberal Democrats and applying to become a candidate for the Party in New Romney Coast, she stressed that she supported the Lib Dems views on Lydd Airport expansion, and in fact believed in and stood for many of our values, and that she wanted to help with the campaign. Although previously a Conservative member, she claimed to have "strongly changed her views". It would seem, just a few weeks later, that she has changed those views again.

"We believe that the voters of New Romney Coast cast their votes after careful and due consideration. The result showed that they wanted to be represented by the Lib Dems and not the Conservatives. We hope that Cllr Ashworth will in time reflect on this and understand that a great many people who voted for her in good faith as a Liberal Democrat will feel let down and disappointed - as will those who helped in her campaign."