A LEADING Conservative Woking borough councillor has joined the Liberal Democrats, less than a month before crucial local elections.

Graham Chrystie, who has represented Pyrford for eight years, accused David Bittleston, the council leader, of curtailing debate within the Conservative group and proceeding with projects which lacked transparency.

“The Conservative Party in Woking is failing on openness, proper consultation and financial disclosure,” said Cllr Chrystie. 

He added he was surprised that the Conservative administration seemed to be proud that Woking has borrowed more money than almost any other local authority in England. 

“I cannot in conscience remain a member of the Conservative Group,” Cllr Chrystie said.  “I now feel I can work more effectively for my ward residents and deliver what local people want, within the Liberal Democrat group, where I can operate within an established, harmonious and effective team.

“Residents have not been properly consulted on key decisions such as plans for a pub/restaurant on West Byfleet Recreation Ground, a site held by the borough only as a trustee for local residents.”

He will cross the floor for the final council meeting of the year this evening, effectively leaving the council under no overall control of any single group. The Conservatives will have 15 councillors, the Liberal Democrats nine and Labour and Independents three each.

For the full story get today's (4 April) edition of the News & Mail