News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lib Dems lose Folkestone Town Council majority

Shepway Lib Dems have confirmed the rumours that Cllrs Emily Sanger (Folkestone Harbour) and Martin Salmon (Folkestone East) have resigned from the party, bringing the total number of defections for June to 3 so far.

The news is a bombshell for the Lib Dems. There have been very few positives for the party since the infamous tax & toilet-gate of 2004, which saw the party split. The first was probably Emily's success in the 2005 by-election, and their biggest success had been taking control of Folkestone Town Council. Both achievements have been lost.

For the time being, at least, both councillors will sit as Independents. Emily is also a District Councillor, so the switch reduces the Lib Dem opposition to an even smaller position than before. Amazingly, there are still rumours of further defections to come, at least one of which seems plausible to me. It's not really the springboard that the Lib Dems will have been looking for as they prepare for next year's Mayoral and European elections.

Folkestone's return to NOC might mean a return to the rotating mayoralty, which would not bode well for Dhan Gurung's bid to be England's first Nepalese Mayor. Unless, of course, he decides to defect!

New composition of Shepway District Council:
Conservative 36
Lib Dem 7
People First 2
Independent 1

New composition of Folkestone Town Council:
Lib Dem 9
Conservative 3
People First 3
Indpendent 3

UPDATE: The change has already started to take effect. The Finance and General Purposes Committee ousted its Lib Dem Chairman and Vice-Chairman, to replace them with People First and Conservative Councillors.

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