We heard from our Lib Dem colleague June Lumley today that she is going to seek re-election to the District Council this year – but this time as a Conservative.
June has been both a District and Town councillor in Grange Ward for a long time, with a good reputation that has helped her survive repeated Conservative challenges. June has indeed been a dignified and serene chairman of the District Council this year.
If June had stood as an independent, that would not have been a surprise – June has been an independent on the Town Council for a long time. But standing for the Tories isn’t going to be easy- the Conservatives are pretty unpopular in West Rayleigh right now! Her switch is bound to be seen as an endorsement of the Tory District Core Strategy which may lead to all the proposed development North of London Road.
If she wins it will be interesting to see how she manages moving from the Lib Dems, where she has not been whipped, into a tightly-whipped Conservative Group.
For the local Lib Dems , this gives us the chance for more some vigorous campaigning and recruiting in Grange Ward. In a period of 10 years, we found 7 good candidates in Downhall and Rawreth to stand for us around Rayleigh. No new candidates came from Grange Ward.