Fareham Liberal Democrat councillor resigns from party citing 'huge' impact of general election results

A Liberal Democract councillor has resigned from his party, citing the ‘huge’ change in politics brought about the general election in December.

By Richard Lemmer
Friday, 10th January 2020, 3:16 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 5:42 pm
Shaun Cunningham speaks at the public meeting held inside Ferneham Hall Fareham.
Shaun Cunningham speaks at the public meeting held inside Ferneham Hall Fareham.

Shaun Cunningham, who represented the Portchester East ward since May 2016, said he had ‘decided to step away from party politics’ and he was ‘reviewing’ whether he would stand in the local elections in May 2020.

He said: 'I will talk to residents and make a decision by the end of May.

‘It is a privilege to be a councillor.’

The result of the general election ‘played a part’ in his decision to leave the party, the councillor said.

He said: ‘I am a centrist, and the election raised huge questions about the centre ground.

‘‘The election has created a void in the centre of politics.

‘Can the Liberal Democrats or the Labour party fill that void? I do not believe they can.’

‘I was so angry with the party – I wonder whether we should have called for an election in the first place.

‘When you get this kind of result, you cannot continue as if nothing has happened.’

The Liberal Democrats came out the election with one less seat, with a total of 11, and saw its leader Jo Swinson losing her seat in East Dunbartonshire, which she had held from 2005 to 2015 and 2017 to 2019.

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But Cllr Cunningham said he was leaving without ‘any bitterness or massive arguments’ with his former Lib Dem councillors.

He said: ‘I wish my colleagues all the best and I’m still going to represent the area.

‘I have work still to do in the ward.

‘I will be speaking to resident as to where I go from there.’

The political balance of the council now stands with the Conservatives holding 77.4 per cent of the seats, the Liberal Democrats having 12.9 per cent, two independent councillors making up 6.4 per cent, and one UKIP councillor representing three per cent.

Councillor Jack Englefield also sits on the council without party affiliation.

Local elections will be held across the UK on Thursday, May 7.