James O’Rourke, Lib Dem Councillor for the High Street Ward has issued a statement on what he calls the “highly questionable practices” of the local parties executive.
The Waltham Forest Guardian reports that “Johar Khan… played a major role in the power struggle” that led to John Macklin (Deputy Leader of the Council), Bob Belam, and Bob Carey’s deselection just weeks before the election. All three are now standing as independents, while regional Lib Dem bosses have advised that the suspensions are unconstitutional.
O’Rourke is believed to have considered standing as an independent but set out his reasons for deciding not to in the email below sent on the 22nd of April.
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“The de-selection of Cllr Carey, eight weeks ago, and the recent de-selection of Cllrs Belam and Macklin as a result of their dogged, and in my opinion right, refusal to capitulate to the highly questionable practices of the Walthamstow Liberal Democrat Executive, has been one of the most deplorable episodes of my political career.
So why you ask am I still standing as a candidate in the forthcoming local elections for the Liberal Democrats?
Because I still strongly believe in the principles of Liberal Democracy and as a Liberal Democrat I stand alongside the majority of my colleagues in Waltham Forest who have the same beliefs.
So what now?
Firstly, I stand on my record, over the last four years as a Liberal Democrat councillor in High Street ward, in the forthcoming local elections in the hope residents give me another four years to carry on the work we’ve started together.
Secondly, I will also fight for a Liberal Democrat borough party to ensure no one constituency can cause such a furore again.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those High Street residents who have offered me their support by email, telephone and on the door whilst canvassing. Such forthright support clearly indicates that as a Liberal Democrat councillor I have been doing the right things over the last four years”.