By Kaye Wiggins
The leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Lambeth council is to step down from the role ahead of local elections in May.
Cllr Ashley Lumsden, who leads the main opposition to the council’s Labour administration, has been appointed as a special adviser to business secretary Vince Cable. He will continue to serve as a backbench Liberal Democrat councillor, representing Streatham Hill, if he is re-elected in May.
Cllr Alex Davies will replace Cllr Lumsden as leader of the Liberal Democrat group.
In a statement Cllr Davies said he was “proud” to lead the party into the elections. “In every part of the borough, Liberal Democrats stand up for their communities against a town hall which is more concerned with new buildings for itself than listening to residents,” he said.
“We have some excellent new candidates joining us in May, and I look forward to seeing them take on Labour in the coming weeks.”
Cllr Lumsden said it had been a “privilege” to lead his party’s group. “Alex Davies is a strong successor and I wish him well for the future,” he said.
But Labour council leader Lib Peck said Cllr Lumsden’s decision to step down showed “what a mess Lambeth Lib Dems are in.”
“He’s given a vote of no confidence to his own party,” she said. “If the Lib Dem leader doesn’t think they can win in May, why should Lambeth voters?”
Interesting that the new leader of the Liberal Democrats in Lambeth berates the current Labour administration in being “more concerned with new buildings for itself than listening to residents.” Perhaps the Liberal Democrats could remind Lambeth residents exactly how much they paid for Phoenix House bought under their tenure, yep the same tenure in which they hiked up the council tax by 40%. Were they listening to residents then?
Lib Dems – heartless nationally, hopeless locally.
Leaders of political parties don’t just quietly resign weeks ahead of crucial council elections because they’re offered a new day job. The Lib Dems are panicking because of their hopeless performances in the three by-elections we’ve had in the last year in Brixton Hill, Tulse Hill and Vassall.
The Lib Dems have been hopeless in Lambeth for a long-time – when they last ran the local authority they put up council tax by 40% in just four years; children’s services had to be put on special measures and they presided over the worst fraud in the council’s history.
Nationally they are heartless backing 50% cuts for Lambeth; reducing benefits for one in six, mostly working, Lambeth residents and cutting 20% of Lambeth’s police officers. They have created a cost of living crisis doubling energy and public transport fares; increasing child care costs by 20% in London in the last year and putting up VAT whilst cutting tax for the very richest.
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