Chair of Plymouth Lib Dems resigns

The chair of Plymouth Liberal Democrats has resigned after a dispute with their parliamentary candidate.

From the Plymouth Herald:

In a heated exchange of emails on Monday Steve Barton, the party chairman in Plymouth, issued an ultimatum to Sutton and Devonport prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) Dr Judy Evans.

He accused Dr Evans of making “negative and destructive comments”, and said he saw “two possible outcomes:

“1. You are de-selected as a PPC.

“2. That I stand down as chair, as after 18 months of turmoil and rebuilding, I feel that I have not got the enthusiasm or strength to tackle up to eight months of negative correspondence and confrontation.

“It is with that in mind, and with great sadness, that I am tendering my resignation as both chair and an executive member”

According to the Herald, the electoral software EARS (Electoral Agents Record System), which is widely used in the Liberal Democrats, was cited during the dispute. Steve Barton accused Judy Evans of misusing the software and threatening to destroy data – a claim which Dr Evans refutes.

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  • dominic Hannigan 26th Aug '09 - 2:48pm

    A sad turn of events. I think that it is relly important that the party perhaps takes a look at whether we are good enough at offering mediation services to local parties at early stages in situations like this, whether through regional/state organisations or at top level. So often things like this can be sorted out with early intervention, though obviously I don’t know any of the circumstances in this case.

  • Can I absolutely underline Geoff Payne’s wise comment – I have now seen several cases where email has aggravated a situation. I think, actually email has fed into (and found a substantial role) an aspect of human nature, ie that face to face and telephone are too close when people find a relationship uneasy, and email is an “easy” way of making comments that are otherwise difficult. Unfortunately the later price to pay is often heavy. The other unfortunate by-product is that they can be forwarded, publicised and they can NEVER be forgotten.

  • Malcolm Todd 1st Sep '09 - 9:56am

    “a claim which Dr Evans refutes”

    Helen: I think you mean ‘denies’. If you really mean ‘refutes’, you should explain how she demonstrates that the claim is false. (Sorry, I try to restrain the pedantic impulse, but I think it’s worth playing Canute over maintaining this vital linguistic distinction.)

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