Turncoat should have quit to stand in a new poll

Zella had a fantastic day at Titchfield Haven and wonders what other local gems she's overlooked      Picture: Gary Taw

ZELLA COMPTON: Looking afresh at our beautiful spot in the world

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ON the plus side, you could say that Nick Gregory has shown the courage of his convictions by quitting the Liberal Democrats to join the ruling Conservative group on Fareham Borough Council.

He’s not the first politician to cross a divide – wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill was but one in a long line of examples – and he certainly won’t be the last.

The Fareham councillor could perhaps have hardly chosen a worse time for the Liberal Democrats at which to announce his defection.

It comes just a week or so before the national referendum on the Alternative Vote, an issue of much divide between members of the coalition Government.

The Tories largely want a No vote in a poll they were forced to organise as a term of co-operation by the Liberal Democrats, whose leader is a leading voice in the Yes camp.

Cllr Gregory cites his unease at his former party’s stance on the issue of AV as one of his reasons for changing in political allegiance.

The other is a change of mind on a matter fundamental to the future of Fareham – the proposed construction of thousands of homes in the Strategic Development area next to the town.

He won a by election in December after campaigning against Conservative-led Fareham council’s plans.

Now he says he thinks it is the best way forward, because without it, the door could open to all sorts of development.

He’s entitled to change his mind and he’s explained why he has done so.

But how does he know that the bulk of those who elected him feel the same?

The homes issue was central to the by election campaign.

People who voted for the candidate who pledged to vote one way now find they have a representative who will cast his vote for the other side.

Surely in instances such as this, the right and proper thing for a politician to do is to stand down, present himself for election under his new colours – and let the electorate decide once more.