Exmouth councillor quits Conservative party
PUBLISHED: 15:21 08 March 2019
A Conservative councillor has quit the party and slammed the Government for their 'appalling treatment' of the less fortunate and their approach to policing.
Councillor Brian Bailey, who represents Exmouth’s Withycombe Raleigh Ward on both Exmouth Town and East Devon District Council, also said in his resignation statement that he has found himself at odds the approach the Tories have taken in East Devon, including the controversial regeneration of Exmouth seafront.
Cllr Bailey has joined the Liberal Democrat party, but he will sit as an Independent until the end of his term in May.
He said: “I have become increasingly disenchanted with the actions of the current Conservative Government, not least the appalling treatment of the less fortunate by the uncaring introduction of the universal credit scheme. I have also long made clear that I cannot support an approach to policing which leaves a major town like Exmouth without a more significant local police presence.
“Additionally, I have found myself at odds with Conservative policies locally, including over Exmouth seafront, where there has been lack of direction and poor communications.
Although he has joined the Lib Dems, Cllr Bailey said he would not change his ‘council colours’ until after May’s local elections, but has yet to confirm whether he will contest the elections in May as a Liberal Democrat.
He said: “I shall complete my term as a councillor for Withycombe Raleigh sitting as an Independent. I do not think it would be right to switch to another party without first putting myself before the electorate.”
“I have counted it a privilege to serve as a town and district councillor and I hope there will be future opportunities for public service in Exmouth.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Groups on Exmouth and East Devon Councils, Cllr Steve Gazzard, welcomed the news, and said: “I salute Brian’s brave decision. He is stepping away from power locally in order to be true to his principles. His enthusiasm, energy and experience will be a considerable asset to the Lib Dems.”
His defection means the current make-up of East Devon District Council sees 33 Conservative councillors, 18 Independents (including Cllr Bailey), and seven Liberal Democrats.