Regular readers of this blog will remember that I put together a video to coincide with the Liberal Democrat Conference in Bournemouth (see here). Well it seems that the Liberal Democrat Group did 'cotton on' to the fact that their problem was Cllr. David Cotton, Liberal Democrat (Saxilby Ward) and have ousted him.
Cllr. Cotton was elected Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on West Lindsey District Council a little over one year ago and replaced incumbent Cllr. Reg Shore, Liberal Democrat (Stow Ward) - The Liberal Democrats Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Lincoln Constituency. Under Cllr. Cotton's leadership they have suffered two by-election defeats - the first in recent memory - They lost the Lib Dem safe seat of Middle Rasen because Cllr. Cotton failed to get the paperwork in on time and in August this year he lost a seat in his home village of Saxilby because his former deputy, Cllr. Brockway, was forced to defect on a matter of principle.
The Liberal Democrats met at some point last week and have ousted Cllr. Cotton and re-instated Cllr. Shore. This seems to make some sense. Under Cllr. Shore's leadership of West Lindsey District Council they reached a high watermark of councillors which has gradually been chipped away by a superior Conservative campaign team. However, Cllr. Shore will be contesting the Lincoln Constituency for the Liberal Democrats in the coming general election - which is expected t be at the same time as the Local Elections. I suspect that this represents a bad decision by the Liberal Democrat Group to have a leader whose focus isn't the district or the group.
This is not however, the end of the story, reports have come to me that Cllr. Peter Heath, Liberal Democrat (Scampton), has resigned and as we are so close to the next set of local elections a by-election will not be called leaving the communities of Aisthorpe, Brattleby, Cammeringham, Fillingham, Glentworth, Ingham, Scampton and Thorpe-In-The-Fallows with out representation on the district council for nearly half a year.
What prompted Cllr. Heath's shock resignation is not known; he was, however, seen by colleagues and opponents alike as a possible leader-in-waiting. What is certain is that the Liberal Democrats on West Lindsey District Council seem more divided and introspective than ever and far from being ready to take up the reigns of the authority once again.
At last night's Nettleham Parish Council Meeting Cllr. Malcolm Leaning, Liberal Democrat (Nettleham Ward), confirmed that Cllr. Shore was the Liberal Democrats new Group Leader.