Lib Dem leader stands down in protest over “unfair” policies

THE leader of the Liberal Democrats in East Cambridgeshire has resigned from the party in protest over “unfair” policies being backed by his party in the Coalition Government.

Cllr Ian Allen, member for the Haddenham Ward, has been leader of the group for little more than a year but has decided to resign from the party and become an independent councillor because of the “losses to the most vulnerable in society” he claims have been brought about by the Lid Dems in government.

He said: The Liberal Democrats are a national party and the stage has been reached where I can no longer support Coalition policies that are unfairly directed at worsening the lives of the least well off in society.

“The party ideals promote amongst other things, fairness, equality and freedom from poverty. While some would seek to promote the idea that there are political gains from being in Coalition, I can only see the losses to the most vulnerable in society as the Lib Dems in Westminster jointly embark on policies that undermine the welfare state.”

Cllr Allen added that the combination of tuition fee cuts, the apparent semi-privatisation of the NHS, the reduction in council tax benefits and the cuts to education maintenance allowance had weighed heavily in his decision.

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“I have reached the stage where I can no longer consider the party as being the same as the party I enthusiastically joined many years ago,” he added.

In response, the East Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats will have to carry out a hasty reshuffle, with a decision expected on a new leadership team at the party’s annual general meeting, set to take place on Saturday.

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A spokesman said: “Not withstanding the loss of one individual, the remaining group members will continue to be an effective opposition in holding the current divisive Tory administration to account.

“Liberal Democrats are committed to building a free, fair and open society and the Group will maintain those ideals in representing the electorate that voted for those beliefs.”

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