Woking Conservative Councillor defects to Lib Dems
By Ann-Marie Barker.
Woking Conservative Councillor defects to the Lib Dems
Graham Chrystie, a Conservative Councillor for Pyrford for 8 years, has left the Conservative Party and joined the Lib Dems on the eve of May's local elections.
This brings the Liberal Democrats, the largest opposition group, to 9 councillors and puts Woking Council into no overall control, with equal numbers of opposition and Conservative councillors.
Councillor Graham Chrystie said, "The Conservative Party in Woking is failing on openness, proper consultation and financial disclosure. The Leader of the Council, who has his main residence in Scotland, has curtailed debate within the Conservative Group and has proceeded with projects which too often lack transparency. Residents have not been consulted on key decisions such as plans for a Pub/Restaurant on the sacrosanct West Byfleet Recreation Ground, a site held by the Borough as a Trustee for local residents."
Councillor Chrystie is surprised that the Conservative administration seem to be proud of the fact that Woking Borough has borrowed more money than almost any other Local Authority in England. He has seen West Byfleet poorly treated and regrets the sorry state of the partly derelict village centre that is a far cry from the vibrant centre of a few years ago.
During his time as a councillor, Cllr Chrystie has tirelessly supported the two Neighbourhood Forums which have been registered in his area. He believes that Forums give an important voice to our local communities. He is delighted that there is now a Forum moving ahead in Hoe Valley, with major input from the Lib Dems, and is disappointed that the Conservative administration has apparently delayed progress on this.
Graham Chrysite added, "I cannot in conscience remain a member of the Conservative Group. I now feel I can work more effectively for my ward residents and deliver what local people want, within the Lib Dem Group, where I can operate within an established, harmonious and effective team."
Welcoming Graham Chrystie to the Lib Dems, Group Leader, Councillor Ann-Marie Barker said, "Graham has been an excellent Councillor for Pyrford and made a huge contribution to the Council, with roles on the scrutiny committee and on planning and finance scrutiny. Beyond the Council he has been a representative on Community Transport, where he has worked closely with my deputy Cllr Deborah Hughes. Graham will be a fantastic addition to the Liberal Democrat group, bringing his finance and planning knowledge and his experience with neighbourhood forums".
Ann-Marie Barker added, "Both nationally and locally, the Conservatives are a fiasco and the Lib Dems are the clear alternative. Unlike the Tories, we are willing to take a step back and think of the consequences, whether it is leaving the EU or Woking Council's unprecedented borrowing. Local people have the opportunity to change Woking's future on 2nd May by voting for change with the Lib Dems."