Yoxford: Liberal Democrat quits party over coalition

A FORMER Liberal Democrat councillor and branch chairman has told how he has quit the party in protest at the coalition Government.

Barry Slater, who represented the Yoxford ward on Suffolk Coastal District Council for seven years, is standing in Thursday’s district elections as an independent candidate.

He said he could no longer continue to represent the Liberal Democrats after the party agreed a power-sharing deal with the Conservatives.

Mr Slater, 65, resigned as branch chairman of the Alde Valley Liberal Democrats following the General Election but continued as a Lib Dem district councillor to fulfil the four-year term he was elected for in 2007.

Winning the seat in 2004 at a by-election after joining the party in 2002, he was deputy leader of the nine-strong Lib Dem group on the council.

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The retired teacher has now resigned from the party and will be standing against Conservative Helen Williams on Thursday.

They are the only two candidates in the running for the seat.

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Mr Slater, who lives at Middleton, said he believed the deal with the Conservatives was “a huge mistake” and “nothing that has happened since has changed my mind”.

He added: “I am in disagreement with a great deal of the policies of the coalition.

“Honesty matters more than anything else in polities and in all honesty I couldn’t stand as a Liberal Democrat.

“I certainly had no fall-out with the local Liberal Democrat party and there was a great deal of understanding of my position.

“I have no intention of joining any other political party.”

Asked if he would consider rejoining the Liberal Democrats if the coalition came to an end, he replied: “You never say never.”

Mr Slater added he had paid his own costs for the printing of his election literature.

Fifty-three seats are being contested at this Thursday’s elections, with two seats uncontested.

The make-up of the council after the last election was 45 Conservatives, nine Liberal Democrats and one Labour member.

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