Monday, 23 July 2012

Southend Lib Dem Defects to Liberal Party

Southend-on-Sea Borough Cllr Ric Morgan (Prittlewell) has left the Liberal Democrats and joined the Liberal Party, although he plans to sit on the council as an independent member.  According to a local Lib Dem blogger, there were 'tensions' between Morgan and the Lib Dem group leader on the council over the effectiveness of the party in holding the Conservative-led council to account.

The Liberal Party descends from the original party of that name that existed until the SDP-Liberal Alliance merged into one single party in 1989, the party that would eventually come to be known as the Liberal Democrats.  Some members of the original Liberal Party, led by former MP Michael Meadowcroft, opposed the merger and formed the continuity Liberal Party. 

However, the Liberal Party never gained much influence beyond a few scattered strongholds in council wards across England, and Meadowcroft himself joined the Lib Dems in 2007.  Despite that, the Liberal Party has continued to contest elections and to attract defections, especially from sitting Lib Dem councillors, that occasionally give it new footholds in different parts of the country.

Southend-on-Sea has historically been a strongly Conservative council, with a Conservative majority in place from 2000 until 2012 without break.  After the 2012 elections however, the Conservatives fell one seat short of winning a majority, but remained in control as a minority administration with the backing of some of the independents.

Morgan's switch on the council to being an independent member leaves the council's political composition as:
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Lib Dems9-1

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