Defection…Lib-Dem Colin Scott jumps ship to join Tories

WELCOME ABOARD – Woking MP Jonathan Lord welcomes Colin Scott watched by Woking Borough Council leader John Kingsbury

A FORMER Liberal Democrat councillor has defected to the Tories after becoming disillusioned with his party’s policies.

Colin Scott represented Old Woking for four years following his election by just 12 votes from Labour candidate Peter Ford in 2007.

He revealed that talks with the Conservative officials about switching sides had been ongoing for the past year.

And that he did not stand for re-election last year because the Liberal Democrat party selected Louise Morales to contest his Old Woking seat.

Mr Scott took the decision to end his association with the Liberal Democrats in November.

[pullquote]It was increasingly clear that I was in the wrong party[/pullquote]

It was announced on Monday that he will stand as the Conservative candidate for Mount Hermon West at the local elections in May.

Mr Scott said: “It was a great honour to be elected five years ago to serve the residents of Old Woking.

Policies

“But it became increasingly clear to me that I was in the wrong party.

“I saw across the council chamber policies from the Conservatives that I agreed with and yet I was being asked to oppose them.

“Freezing Woking’s share of the council tax in 2008, 2011 and again this year has been a great achievement by the council.

“It is really important to me that services be kept going – and the Conservatives have kept them going.

“I’ve also been pleased to see the council making good investments in assets, in the local economy and re-building community facilities like scout huts and village halls.

“The Lib Dem leader pledged to oppose and review these policies – I thought that was wrong.

“So I’m delighted to join a party that has delivered good things for this town and that I believe is going in the right direction.

“I am going to fight hard in Mount Hermon West to get that message across to residents.”

Mr Scott claimed that he was not alone in feeling disgruntled with the decisions being taken by the Liberal Democrats.

He added that he thought other members may follow him in defecting to the Conservatives.

Mr Scott said: “There are a number of well-meaning people working within the Lib Dems.

“But the party seems to be shifting far more to the left and the leadership make decisions without consulting with their colleagues.

“I know there are others who have not been happy with the way things are, and maybe I will not be the last one to leave to join the Conservatives.”

Woking MP Jonathan Lord and Conservative group leader, councillor John Kingsbury, welcomed Mr Scott to the party’s Churchill House headquarters on Chobham Road.

And Cllr Kingsbury declared Mr Scott’s decision to defect a ‘great morning for the Conservative Party in Woking’.

He added: “I’m really pleased that Colin is now a member of our party and will be fighting for us in the coming elections.

“Woking Conservatives have delivered low council tax, and retained services and grants to voluntary groups.

Bitterness

“This has been based on sound economic management during tough times and I’m glad that a former Lib Dem councillor has had the courage to join us in the political centre ground when the rest of his local party is drifting further to the left.”

Cllr Richard Sharp, Lib Dem council leader claimed the reasons Mr Scott gave for leaving were misleading and his move was more likely to have been due to the fact he had been overlooked as a candidate by the party.

He said: “The justifications offered are baseless as the Liberal Democrats support the council tax freeze and investment in the town centre.

“The real reason appears to be bitterness that Colin Scott was not selected by the Liberal Democrat Party to stand in Old Woking or Goldsworth East in 2011 and that there was little support for him being selected as a Liberal Democrat candidate in 2012.”

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About the Author: Andy Fitzsimon