A LIBERAL Democrat councillor has switched political parties after he was suspended by his own group.
The controversial decision by Councillor Terry Goodman to defect to the Conservatives was announced months after he was voted in at this year’s May elections to represent the central ward.
The Richington Way resident read a statement at last week’s Seaford Town Council meeting on Thursday.
He told fellow colleagues and members of the public that he had resigned from the minority group and had joined the Conservative party.
This means the Tories now have 16 councillors sitting on the town council, with the four remaining Lib Dems being Cllrs Bob Allen, Sarah McStravick, Stephen Gauntlett and Ali Hayder.
The Lewes Liberal Democrats have told the Gazette Cllr Goodman was suspended from the Seaford Lib Dem town council group after openly supporting the leader of the town council Ian White who did not stand down after he was arrested following a drink drive matter and later admitted the offence, for which he apologised.
At the town council meeting Cllr Goodman said, “I am at present, since the 20th of July, wearing the title of independent councillor which was imposed upon me by the local Lib Dem party which I consider being unjustified.
“I have therefore decided that I cannot support or serve, therefore, on Seaford Town Council as an elected councillor wearing the title of Lib Dem any further.”
He added that he had great faith and trust in the Conservative party and later told the Seaford Gazette that he had apologised to the Liberal Democrats over the matter but had had no response.
He continued, “All I did was send a personal email to Cllr White copied to the Lib Dems and others to be open about it stating that I was not into dirty politics and they twisted it and took it out of context to say that I was accusing them of dirty tricks, which I was not and they placed me on full suspension pending a disciplinary hearing with membership revocation being considered.
“I then sent an apology to them but had no response.
“That is why I considered it to be unjustified and could not support or serve under their title any further.
“I felt that I had no freedom of speech with them.”
Cllr Goodman said that he would also like to apologise to those who voted him in at the May elections but said he would continue to serve the town as a councillor but with the Conservatives.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Sarah McStravick said that while Lib Dem councillors were free to express their opinions and ideas it was deeply upsetting that Cllr Goodman had supported Cllr White regarding the drink driver matter.
She added, “We wish Terry the best of luck in the Conservatives.”