Lewes Liberal Democrats announced the appointment of a new parliamentary spokesperson, James MacCleary, currently leader of Lewes District Council.
Cllr MacCleary said, “I am delighted to have been appointed as Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Lewes constituency. I would like to thank Oli Henman for all his work during the General Election where we ran the Conservatives so close.
“We are at a critical point in our politics with challenges to our law, the economy, work and health. So it is vital that this government and our local MP are held to account. The Liberal Democrats will continue to challenge this government for their incompetence, their mismanagement of both Covid-19 and the Brexit negotiations, and their devastating impacts on our local community and economy.
“Locally, residents want an MP who puts our community first and speaks out on the issues affecting our towns and villages rather than just toeing the government’s line. I’ve lived in the constituency for over 14 years and am raising my two young children here, so the future of our area means a lot to me. I am looking forward to standing up for residents who are being badly let down by the Conservatives.”
Cllr MacCleary succeeds Oli Henman, who stood as the Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary candidate in the 2019 election.
Cllr Henman commented: “I welcome James’ appointment as Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson and am confident he will to continue to hold the Tories to account locally and nationally.
“I am taking the difficult decision to step back from the role of parliamentary spokesperson to pursue a major opportunity in international development with the charity I co-founded. My work takes me to the UN, working with governments around the world to drive sustainable responses to the climate emergency. It is a chance to affect the future of the planet and make a difference to what I believe is the most important issue of our generation. I was proud to represent the Liberal Democrats in Lewes at the 2019 General Election and I would like to thank all of those who voted for the Liberal Democrats and supported me locally.”
Lewes Constituency Chair Simon Burall said, “Our campaign saw the Conservative majority cut by over half to under 2,500, a majority of less than 5%. This moved Lewes from a safe seat in 2017 to hyper-marginal in 2019. The party can build on this strong record thanks to the efforts that Oli and all the team put in during 2019. Oli will remain as a councillor in Lewes, a part of the Liberal Democrat team locally, who will continue to build on the 2019 campaign and work to take the seat from the Conservatives in 2024.”