Lib Dems in Newhaven and across Lewes District are celebrating after winning their second council by-election in a row.
Lib Dem candidate Christoph Von Kurthy (pictured below) held the Newhaven Valley Ward on Newhaven Town Council with almost 46% of the vote.
Cllr Darren Grover, Leader of the Lib Dem Group on Newhaven Town Council, said: "We have a great local team here in Newhaven and we are delighted to see Christoph getting such a good result.
"This is another good win and shows that the local Lib Dem fight back is well under way. It also shows how disliked the Tories still are in Newhaven"
Lewes Liberal Democrats have slammed local MP Maria Caulfield for voting in favour of allowing fracking in National Parks. The Tory MP maintained her record of always voting with the government since her election in May by voting to allow companies to drill and blast horizontally into protected areas.
Local Lib Dems have maintained a strong anti-fracking position arguing that government support should be behind renewable energy to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. Since the election the MP and her Conservative colleagues have made it a priority to unpick legislation promoting wind and solar in order to support the Prime Minister’s pledge to go ‘all out’ for shale gas extraction.
“It appears that our MP is happy to see holes being blasted into the National Park which covers a large part of the constituency she is supposed to represent.” says local Lib Dem campaigner, James MacCleary.
“As someone who lives in Lewes and was a councillor when we managed to get National Park status for the South Downs it amazes me that our MP would support these measures. Perhaps living in Brighton she doesn’t appreciate the delicate ecological balance that she is endangering by backing her government’s drive to promote fracking.”
"I am sure many of those who voted for the fourth and fifth placed Labour and Green candidates, allowing a pro-fracking Conservative MP to be elected, will be feeling very disappointed right now'.
Sarah Osborne, who represents Plumpton ward on the District Council says: “We keep hearing from the Tories about how many jobs fracking will create, and how much money it’ll make, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped them destroying jobs in Britain’s world-leading green industry.
“This change will be off huge concern both to people living in the National Park and those just outside its boundaries - my ward goes across the National Park border for instance. Our Conservative MP has really let us down here, and once again shown that she puts following the party line above the wellbeing of her constituents.”
Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has ignored requests to meet with the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. Lib Dem Cllr Carolyn Lambert, Vice-Chair of the Fire Authority commented:
“I am astonished by the discourtesy shown by an MP to our hard-working and much-valued Fire and Rescue Service. We have meetings arranged with all the other MPs in the area and with the Police and Crime Commissioner but Maria Caulfield has not responded either to the invitation to meet or to a previous letter from the Chief Fire Officer."
Conservatives are in chaos after their surprising move to oppose their own housing strategy at a recent council meeting. The controversial ‘49 sites’ plan had been heavily criticised by the opposition Liberal Democrat group and large numbers of disgruntled residents.
The ruling Conservative group, now under their fourth leader in five years, shocked everyone by dramatically caving in to criticism and agreeing to review the whole strategy. Splits immediately emerged amongst local Conservatives as the previously silent MP turned on her own council group and criticised their approach to the creation of the plan.
“After only a little over six months in overall control of the council, the Conservatives are already fighting amongst themselves. We need a considered and mature approach to housing strategy for the District, but instead we have been presented with an unpopular plan drawn up behind closed doors”, said Liberal Democrat group leader, Sarah Osborne.
“This is a humiliating climb-down from a strategy that the Tories have invested so much of our public money in. Now that the plan is clearly falling apart at the seams, our new Conservative MP choses to voice her outrage at how the plan was put together, yet she did nothing about it at the time. Did she know about it and do nothing, or did her councillors simply ignore her? Either way, it shows the continued confusion gripping the local Conservatives”.
“I am looking forward to the new cross-party working group that will review the strategy and all future plans. I want to ensure we have a fully transparent process that results in a scheme that everyone can support.
Liberal Democrats on Lewes District Council have won their fight to change Tory-backed plans to reduce the amount of council tax relief for people including lone parents and carers on low incomes.
The Conservative plan involved assuming a ‘minimum income’ for the self-employed regardless of real earnings. Sarah Osborne, leader of the Lib Dems on the council, argued that this was discriminatory particularly for lone parents, those with caring responsibilities, and people with serious health conditions who cannot work 35 hours as required by the Tories’ ‘minimum income’.
The petition recently started by the Lib Dems against the Conservatives proposed new waste site in Newhaven has been resoundingly backed by many local residents.
There was victory recently for local people as pressure from both the public and the Lib Dems forced George Osborne into an embarrassing u-turn when he recently announced that the Conservatives were scrapping plans to cut Child Tax Credits.
More than 5000 children locally would have affected by Conservative plans to cut tax credits which were backed by our local Tory MP before the u-turn.
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