BELLE MONT, our Sutton reporter, on the first sign of recriminations among that borough’s ruling party
MP Tom Brake and Sutton’s Liberal Democrats, still reeling from the shock of last month’s local elections in which they lost 12 council seats, have begun to seek scapegoats for their failure at the ballot box. One Beddington pensioner received a hand-delivered letter informing him that he has been expelled from the party – even though he is not a member.
Gervais Sawyer, a retired lecturer, had the letter from the local LibDems drop on to his door mat on June 10.
It came from someone styling himself “Professor” Adrian Bonner, the chair of Sutton Liberal Democrats. Undated, the letter used the daunting heading: “RE: Revoking membership of Sutton Borough Liberal Democrat Party”.
It said: “It has come to our attention that you proposed the nomination of Tim Foster, one of the three independent candidates in Beddington North, who was subsequently elected at the Council elections of 3 May. By doing so you showed your support for another party whilst being a current member of Sutton Borough Liberal Democrats.”
Beddington North is where Sutton’s supposedly “eco-friendly” LibDems have allowed an industrial-scale waste incinerator to be built for Viridor, and which is due to start to pollute the air quality for miles around some time this summer.
Three of the council seats the LibDems lost were in Beddington North ward, where Foster and two other independents were elected. The LibDems finished fourth in Beddington North, their worst local election ward result in Sutton since their party was created, as their vote share collapsed by 50 per cent.
Clearly, the LibDems think this embarrassing reverse is nothing to do with their incinerator policy, their fraudster councillor or the #Sutton BinShame, and it is all the fault of Gervais Sawyer.
Bonner’s letter to Sawyer went on to state that, “Your nomination of the independent candidate is a public declaration of support for them, made in an official document which is publicly available.
“I am writing therefore to inform you that on Wednesday 23rd May 2018, the Executive of Sutton Liberal Democrats voted to expel you from the party following a breach of the Constitution…”.
Sawyer, for his part, is unconcerned about the “expulsion”, since he has not been a paid-up member of the LibDems for five years.
He has told Inside Croydon that the nature of the LibDems disciplinary process – sitting in judgement on him in their own kangaroo court, before offering him the opportunity to appeal after their ruling – shows them to be anti-democratic.
“This is ludicrous on so many grounds,” Sawyer said.
“Democracy says that I should vote for the best person for the job. For some years I delivered leaflets for Tom Brake MP and put up stake boards at election time. This amounted to many many hours of walking and driving and effort. My support for the LibDems evaporated with issues such as university tuition fees, a string of unimpressive leaders, Tom Brake and the selling of The Grange, to say nothing of evictions from the Richmond Green bungalows and the incinerator.
“My neighbour was one candidate and since I consider him the best man for the job I was happy to sign his nomination paper.
“Besides, if the LibDems had checked their records they would see that I hadn’t paid a subscription for five years or more.”
Nick Mattey, the Beddington North independent who was re-elected to the council, said, “If Sutton LibDems’ membership records are so out-of-date that they expel someone who hasn’t been a member since at least 2013, how can they be expected to be trusted to run the council, where they are supposed to be responsible for spending many millions of pounds of public money?”
And Mattey points out that Sawyer is not alone in receiving expulsion letters from the LibDems recently.
Mattey was expelled from the LibDems two years ago after the councillor turned whistle-blower over the £275,000 “gift” from a Viridor charity to a Wallington church hall used by Brake and Sutton LibDems for party meetings. Mattey recently received a letter from the Liberal Democrats national party informing him that, as he had not paid any subs for two years, he was to lose his “privileges” of membership…
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