Mike Bell resigns as candidate for Weston Super-Mare for family and work reasons and Welsh Liberal Democrat councillor joins Labour

Libby - Some rghts reserved by David SpenderThe Liberal Democrat PPC for Weston-Super-Mare, Mike Bell, has resigned from that role, although he will continue as a councillor. The Bristol Post reports:

Dad of two Mr Bell, who lives in the town, posted on social networking sites his decision to stand down as parliamentary candidate for the seaside resort with immediate effect.

Mr Bell thanked his supporters said: “I have resigned as Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Weston super Mare due to work and family commitments.”

Mike was the party’s candidate at the last General Election in 2010, increasing the Lib Dem vote by nearly 3,000.

HIs full statement on his public Facebook page said:

Hi everyone, just to let you know, I have resigned as Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Weston-super-Mare with immediate effect due to work and family commitments. I’ve enjoyed the role over the past few years but just cannot commit the time needed to the job at the moment. I remain committed to working to improve Weston and North Somerset – and to getting regime change at the Town Hall!

Weston-Super-Mare was held by Liberal Democrat Brian Cotter from 1997-2005.

In other news, Conwy Council Cabinet Member Mike Priestley has defected to the Labour Party:

Wales Online says:

Mike Priestley, a Cabinet member on Conwy council, said in a letter to residents that he had been “struggling personally” with the Liberal Democrats nationally since they went into coalition with the Conservatives four years ago, finding himself becoming more distant from their policies.
He said: “I am a former trade union branch chairman and I feel like I am coming back to my roots.

“As both a councillor and a Cabinet member, I have had the privilege of working alongside the First Minister Carwyn Jones. Under his leadership, Labour in Wales is delivering real help for Conwy. Working alongside Ed Miliband as Prime Minister in 2015 there is real hope for the future.”

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  • And so it goes on and on and on and ……………..
    In the meantime MPs are supposed to have been contained in a Midlands hotel over the weekend to discuss strategy. It is all so laughable you could cry.
    The next election may be a wipe out.

  • Max Wilkinson 7th Jul '14 - 11:38am

    Sad to see Mike has stepped down. He’s a true Westonian and effective campaigner. I hope the local party can find a good replacement.

  • paul barker 7th Jul '14 - 1:12pm

    And so the Membership keeps rising, the first time ever for a Party in Government. I am sorry to see people going or stepping down but lets have some perspective please.

  • david thorpe 8th Jul '14 - 11:01am

    tthe membership looks like it is rising because the mebership department are being creative…..in how they calculate it…

  • David Evans 8th Jul '14 - 1:45pm

    … and how they offer massive incentives to constituencies to get just a few extra people (often relatives) to join.

  • David Evans 8th Jul '14 - 3:18pm

    Over £120 for one new member! You may call that a finacial incentive. Anyone else calls it desperation to hide the symptom.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 8th Jul '14 - 4:45pm

    So many of us are looking around to see what is the ‘next best thing’ to join as the Lib Dems are piling failure on failure – on ourselves. Say one thing today and do another tomorrow. There are no principles I recognise as being carried out with strength – from those voted as IN leadership. Just our policies which Tories can say are theirs. How? Are our IN people and their pals really sleeping and not seeing our pain? The ‘party’ goes on trying to promote itself against the political poor odds which we have never faced before in my fairly long life-time.

    I’ve been a local candidate, used to erect posters in front of my house, put up Lib the LD posters in the window of course, pressed local people to follow me and they did – but now I am embarrassed to do so – yes, I am embarrassed, in my own area of London where the LDs have become the stupid party with no principles.

    Yes we have loyal LD candidates trying to raise the LD banner locally. But I feel so sorry for the party I love, the principles which have been thrown out – just to be in government with Tories and jump to the Tory tune and sit beside the PM once a week. It is shocking. I’m partly a Scot, we are left-leaning in my family and hate Tories who are only for paying themselves by any means they can find.

    This could be my last post before I join another party – but it will be a left-leaning one with principles it will never give up on for money and power.

  • mike clements 10th Jul '14 - 11:25am

    Naive though I may be, I like to think that our ex–members have read the preamble to our Constitution and joined because this was how they believed a society should be run and they wanted to be part of it. By joining another party with different ideals often hostile to those to which they signed up as Lib-Dems. they are betraying their own principles no less than the party they abandon. If any member does not like the direction the party is taking – and I am one of them – they should think again and face the truth that by resigning they give added strength to their opponents who, with one less member to oppose them, become freer to act. Reform can only come from within, past members are nobodies whose opinions no longer matter.

  • David Evans 12th Jul '14 - 9:31am

    Tony Rowan Wicks – I would urge you to stay and fight back. We need people like you to vote against Nick when the time comes. http://www.libdemfightback.yolasite.com

  • nvelope2003 14th Jul '14 - 2:28pm

    As someone who has supported the Liberals all my life I have to accept that when there is a real crisis such as whether to go to war in 1914 or to maintain total Free Trade in 1931 or free tuition for students in 2010 it has proved impossible to stick to principles which are really only appropriate in normal circumstances. No one with any sense goes out and buys new carpets and furniture when the roof leaks. They fix that problem first then when things are back to normal they can start thinking about home improvements or spending tax payers hard earned money in the case of Governments. I am not sure that giving all children free school meals regardless of circumstances is the wisest use of public funds but we shall have to see. It does not even seem to be popular as people know that someone has to pay for these subsidies.

    The Liberals were popular when they advocated policies which many people liked but now policies seem to be devised to please small minorities and annoy the majority. As a result support has collapsed. Coalition was unavoidable but we must try to avoid it happening again.

  • David Evans 14th Jul '14 - 2:45pm

    @nvelope2003 – Nick has made absolutely sure it won’t happen again by destroying all credibility the party ever had for saying, “Put us in government and we will govern bettter than the others.” It’s a long, long way back for Liberal Democracy from the disaster of the last four years. Many of us will not live long enough to see it happen if he doesn’t go soon.

  • nvelope2003 14th Jul '14 - 3:11pm

    The sort of people who used to support the Liberals now seem to prefer the Greens as they are untainted with all the baggage which comes from having to govern. It makes me wonder how serious they really are. It is easy to advocate policies if you think you will most likely never have the responsibility for implementing them. The Greens advocate unlimited immigration and welfare payments for everyone who comes here and asks for them. How many of their supporters know that ? Would it be affordable ?

  • Nick Collins 14th Jul '14 - 3:42pm

    @ mike clements

    “past members are nobodies whose opinions no longer matter.”

    Thanks, Mike , for the gratuitous insult to former members. Personally I prefer to be a “nobody” (in your eyes, that is) than a “somebody” in the self-serving clique which the Liberal Democrats have become. Sorry, it’s too far gone now to offer any realistic prospect of reform from within.

    As to whether our opinions still matter: we shall demonstrate that when we exercise them at the ballot box next May

    And nvelope2003 : insulting people who have voted for you in the past seems an odd strategy for winning them back or, indeed, for replacing them. LibDems in despair, and deservedly so, methinks

  • A Social Liberal 14th Jul '14 - 3:47pm


    One takes up a principled stance for a reason, you believe that it right! To abandon principle means that you are doing something which is fundamentally wrong.

    Going into coalition meant that Lib Dems compromised their liberal principles. In other words they were acting illiberally. No wrapping it up with the ‘greater good’ will change that fact. Lib Dems acted without principle in order to get a modicum of power.

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Jul '14 - 8:47pm

    @mike clements 10th Jul ’14 – 11:25am
    “Naive though I may be, I like to think that our ex–members have read the preamble to our Constitution and joined because this was how they believed a society should be run and they wanted to be part of it. By joining another party with different ideals often hostile to those to which they signed up as Lib-Dems they are betraying their own principles no less than the party they abandon …”

    Mike, part of what you say is of course correct but the Preamble represents a radical, reforming, centre-left, green, egalitarian, Liberal Democratic party. Having read and signed up to the party of the preamble, many former members have clearly encountered insurmountable contradictions between what we say we believe in there and in recent manifestos and what the centre right have delivered up to us and still seek to hold us to.

    However, I wish radical, reforming, centre-left, green, egalitarian, liberal democratic people well – whatever party they are in and think it is a grave mistake to write them off as not being important.

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Jul '14 - 9:07pm

    Tony Rowan-Wicks 8th Jul ’14 – 4:45pm

    Tony, I too have wondered if I am still in the right party and have also viewed the web site of another party so I fully understand where you are coming from. I would however ask you to remain with us until after the next general election.

    At that point, we are going to need the voice and vote of every mainstream Liberal Democrat who believes in the values set out in our preamble and in the policies which naturally flow from them.

    The centre right have taken us to the cleaners with their ‘New Lib Dems’ project but I sincerely believe that their Laissez-faire free market sub-Thatcherite liberalism will been seen to have caused us so much damage after the next election that we will quickly abandon such policies and thinking and revert to good solid Preamble Liberal Democracy.

    Our leadership do not deserve your loyalty but the core values of our party our remain unchanged and absolutely deserve our continuing support.

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Jul '14 - 9:33pm

    @ Nick Collins 14th Jul ’14 – 3:42pm.
    “Sorry, it’s too far gone now to offer any realistic prospect of reform from within.”

    Nick, by all means write off the Clegg-Laws-Browne axis but it would be a massive mistake to write off this party, its members and our values.

  • Nick Collins 15th Jul '14 - 5:37pm

    @ Stephen Hesketh

    When a vehicle is beyond economic repair, one writes it off.

  • David Evans 15th Jul '14 - 6:23pm

    But when it’s the driver that is the problem …

  • Stephen Hesketh 15th Jul '14 - 7:09pm

    @David Evans 15th Jul ’14 – 6:23pm
    … along with his Laws-Browne road map.

    Perhaps if the chauffeur had continued along the agreed route we wouldn’t now have two wheels hanging over the cliff edge.

    @Nick Collins … except when it is an irreplaceable classic!

  • Nick Collins 16th Jul '14 - 10:46am

    @Stephen Hesketh

    An irreplaceable classic would have a pretty high value, ( as a collector’s item or a museum piece, if not as a working vehicle). Are you suggesting that LibDem values should be preserved as a historical curiosity?

  • A Social Liberal and Nick Collins:
    I was not intending to insult those who have gone over to the Greens. Just pointing out that life and politics are not clear cut. It is good to have principles but if you are unwilling to make any compromises, even of a temporary nature, then you are unlikely ever to have the opportunity of implementing them. The Labour Party has been successful because it normally knows how far it can go to get what it wants and so over many years it has achieved much of what it hoped. Many recent Liberal Democrat supporters just wanted to make a protest and deserted the party when it became part of Government, especially those who had moved from Labour because they disliked Blair/Brown. Others have gone over to UKIP or the Greens to maintain their protest. This has happened in Germany where many former FDP supporters have gone to the Alternative for Germany although it does not have similar policies but represents a protest movement. At the European Elections that party moved ahead of the FDP with 7% against 3.5% for the FDP and both gained seats but in the case of the FDP only because the 5% threshold was abolished.
    In 1914 the majority of Liberals were opposed to war but the party did not have a majority in the Commons since the 2 elections of 1910 and relied on some Labour MPs and the Irish Party for support. The Conservatives had almost the same number of MPs as the Liberals and wanted war (maybe they always do ?) so whatever the Liberals wanted would not have made any difference but they got the blame for the disaster of World War I and have paid the price ever since by being out of office except for the various coalitions – 1918, 1931, 1939 and 2010.
    I guess you could say that is proof that standing by your principles and opposing the war, whatever the short term problems might have meant the Liberals would have maintained their status as one of the two big parties, although the 1918 changes in the franchise granting full adult male suffrage and votes for women over 30 must have given a boost to the Labour Party, particularly from men.

  • One or two polls in the last few days – Ashcroft and ICM – seem to have shown a boost for the Liberal Democrats and from ICM a collapse in support for UKIP. Maybe it was just a blip so we shall have to wait and see.

  • Ashcroft!!! I thought it said 7%!!!! Perhaps I am wrong. Also boost, that seems a mighty strong word. Again lets be realistic. We are down between 11 and 15% on the General Election 2010 over the various polls. That is a recipe for disaster.
    Tomorrow we might have a reasonable day, attempting to hold two seats and win another in Cornwall.

  • nvelope2003 16th Jul '14 - 9:09pm

    theakes: yes it has gone back to 7% but it was 11% a day or two earlier. Of course these figures are a disaster – only a fool would say otherwise. It is hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel and unless the Conservatives win an outright majority next yearthe Liberal Democrats will be finished as a significant political force for some time. Just out of interest have there been any Liberal Democrats moving to the old Liberal Party or have they also suffered from the coalition ?

  • Stephen Hesketh 16th Jul '14 - 9:12pm

    @Nick Collins 16th Jul ’14 – 10:46am “Are you suggesting that LibDem values should be preserved as a historical curiosity?”

    Nick, if you are not familiar with the preamble to our constitution, I would ask you to read it and then tell me, truthfully, that you believe that what the Lib Dems stand for is a not more relevant today than ever.

    Just the minor matter of getting rid of one, possibly two, NCs!

  • Paul in Twickenham 16th Jul '14 - 10:17pm

    Today’s YouGov tracking poll shows LD at 6% – the lowest ever recorded. Obviously this is an outlier, but it illustrates that there is no meaningful evidence of an uplift in support after the drop following the party’s disastrous showing in the European and local election. The overall polling average remains at a bit less than 8%.

    In terms of people moving to The Liberal Party, that has certainly been a decision in the last day or two by one of the most regular posters on the members’ forum. I don’t think it’s a decision that many people are making, but it illustrates the way that the decisions the party leadership is making in government are alienating long-standing party members who find those decisions utterly at odds with core Liberal principles.

    And the fact that so many people on this forum have not been prepared to give the benefit of the doubt over DRIP to the likes of Julian Huppert (indeed many people have been bluntly disbelieving of his analysis) is perhaps an indication that there has been contagion of the lack of confidence in the leader to the rest of the parliamentary party.

  • nvelope2003 18th Jul '14 - 9:33pm

    Paul in Twickenham : The polling average has varied very little for about 3 years. Under Sir Menzies Campbell who was an admirable man in almost every way the Liberal Democrats sometimes scored 12% . The vagaries of the electorate are unfathomable. They are said to hate Nick Clegg but that is almost certainly because he, like Sir Menzies Campbell, is held up to ridicule at every opportunity by a Right Wing Tory press and the absurd so called Daily Mirror ( who or what does it “Mirror”) that hates the Liberal Democrats because they threaten their cosy ways and positions. If Clegg was replaced his replacement would immediately suffer the same barrage of filth from both the other parties and their backers in the “free” press.

    Polls have shown that those who consider themselves Liberals account for about 9 % of the electorate that votes but others are prepared to vote for the party sometimes .( Labour are 31% Conservatives 27% UKIP 5% and Green 4%) In the West of England many potential Labour supporters have voted Liberal for years and might very well continue to do so. The Liberal Democrats held a seat in a by-election in Yeovil yesterday after the previous councillor was convicted of theft from a charity, not the most popular offence.

    The problem for the Liberal Democrats is that not many of the electorate believe in their principles. Most people favour a sort of socialism. I think it was Sir William Harcourt before the First World War who said we are all socialists now. They like Nationalised industries even if they are inefficient and costly rather than private business, in case someone makes a little money out of running them. They do not want any private firms to be involved in the NHS even if it improved that body though of course it has used private contractors for decades, like BR did. They believe in democracy when it suits their own interests but not for others, especially not for minorities like Liberals, hence their opposition to electoral reform, or indeed any other reform unless it is forced on them by absolute necessity, such as war, and then they want to go back to the same things that probably caused the war in the first place.

    It is almost a miracle that Liberal Democracy has survived at all so we should not be too down hearted.

  • Nick Collins 19th Jul '14 - 2:14pm

    @ Stephen Hesketh

    The words in the constitution are not the problem. The problem is the actions of the Liberal Democrats in Parliament. So I’m not actually sure what the LibDems “stand for”. Wise voters do not take much notice of what politicians say; it’s better to judge them by what they do.

    As for getting rid of one or more NCs; you’ve already got rid of this one; I left four years ago and I’m not coming back.

  • nvelope2003 21st Jul '14 - 3:00pm

    Nick Collins makes my point perfectly.

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