A wet flannel, a flip-flop and a rump of a party

People do change their minds on political issues, and so we should not be too surprised when occasionally someone resigns from one party and joins another party or becomes an Independent. But we would hope that such a decision would be made after much thought, especially if the person had been elected on a party platform.

Three curious stories have reached us today.

In Thetford,  Labour councillor Carl Clark resigned, apparently because he opposed Labour’s policies on membership of Europe and on abortion, amongst others. He described Ed Miliband as a ‘wet flannel’.

He said “I have never really been Labour. They asked me a week before the election if I wanted to go with Labour. I was not even a member before. I’m just very against the EU because it’s brought this country down.”

That should teach us all of the perils of scrabbling for a candidate at the last minute.

Over in Milton Keynes, a Conservative councillor, Donald Hoyle, drafted a resignation letter, shared it with UKIP because he planned to join them, then had second thoughts after UKIP announced the defection.  His fellow Conservative, Lee Barney, did go through with the change of party even though he had been re-elected as a Tory only 6 weeks ago.

For full political balance we will also mention a Liberal Democrat councillor who resigned to join … the Social Democrat Party. Now you may not realise that the SDP still exists as a separate party, but it does, and it has 41 members, a strange website and a rather curious list of policies which betray the founding principles of Shirley Williams and Roy Jenkins.


* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary in print, on air or online.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in News.


  • He said “I have never really been Labour. They asked me a week before the election if I wanted to go with Labour. I was not even a member before. I’m just very against the EU because it’s brought this country down.”

    How does that work? Surely a week before the election is after the nomination date so he couldn’t possibly have been elected under a Labour party ID, right?

  • mark fairclough 19th Jun '12 - 6:10pm

    the LIBERAL PARTY still also exists

  • Tony Dawson 19th Jun '12 - 8:36pm

    @mark fairclough :

    the LIBERAL PARTY still also exists”

    So does the Higgs Boson. They both have roughly the same total effect on UK political life as does the SDP (whose ‘politics’ sound an awful lot like those of the English Democrats).

  • Neil Bradbury 19th Jun '12 - 10:48pm

    Love the fact that the new SDP councillor resigned because he wrote to Nick Clegg and didn’t get a response – aww bless

  • mark fairclough 20th Jun '12 - 8:11am

    @tony , yes the SDP sound do a lot like the ENG DEMS,

  • mark fairclough 20th Jun '12 - 8:13am

    lol i,ll try again yes the sdp do sound a lot like the eng dems

  • usually, someone who changes party was in the wrong one in the first place, or for the wrong reason. I joined the LibDems for the principles upon which it is founded, and upon which all policies and decisions are(or should be) based. Policies change to suit the times, but principles may evolve, therefore so long as the party sticks to its principles, and so long as I share them, I shall remain a LibDem.

  • Don Hoyle is a dinosaur, re-elected 6 weeks ago by 150 votes in a rock solid Tory seat. UKIP didn’t challenge him (Labour could have pulled off a shock) so my guess is that a defection had been in the pipeline for a while. But he looked into the abyss and bottled it. Not sure he added much to the Tory group before, were he to defect the parties would be split 18/16/15 Con: Lab: LD, which could lose their majority with a couple of absentees.

    Lee Barney on the other hand was a rising star in the Tory party (he defeated our cabinet member last year) and is a major blow to them. His ability to grab a headline and modern campaigning skills were light years ahead of the rest of his party (see http://www.waltonmk.com) but he was always a loose cannon. I don’t know if he’s had a falling out with the Tory leadership (there was only one fresh cabinet post available and the best candidate got it) or whether he’s just decided he prefers his own company. Strategically this is great for us; it exposes fault lines in a confident Tory party, and after losing a seat by 4 votes in May with a useless UKIP local party making little headway, the thought of Lee Barney leading the UKIP campaigns and splitting the Tory vote provides us with an opportunity.

  • The SDP always sounded like that, apart from their reasonably progressive ‘gang of 4’ (well, 3 of them anyway). people here who look to the SDP as some sort of golden age of centre party progressivism just weren’t there. Imagine the right wing of the Labour Party in thrall to Thatcher, and you’re getting there :o)

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • David Evans
    Ronnie was a great liberal, a great man, and a great MP. He was probably a great Lord as well, but to those who knew him, the title Lord barely registered as i...
  • Gordon
    A lot to like here but some differences. For one, money emphatically IS fuel. (It’s also a lubricant but that’s less interesting.) For example, the ...
  • Judy Abel
    I remember Erlend from the time when I worked for Simon Hughes in his Constituency Office in Bermondsey. Erlend was managing the Lib Dems Campaigns Office downs...
  • Mick Taylor
    Bloody predictive text! 'supporter' should read 'support it or'...
  • Mick Taylor
    The responsibility for Johnson continuing in office is not ours. It is totally in the hands of Tory MPs. We know that it largely won't matter if we vote for or ...