LETTER: Don’t denigrate their efforts

Despite being a supporter and member of UKIP, I was invigorated by Robert Slater’s valid defence of Stephen Lloyd [Letters, August 5]. Like Robert I had been astonished by the assertion that our former MP had not done much in his first year, let alone during his whole term of office.

I hold no brief for Stephen’s general political theory, but there is no doubt that his focus was entirely on the good of Eastbourne. His success in increasing the number of apprenticeships was a huge achievement, along with all others to which Robert Slater referred.

For good measure he might have added the amount of work Stephen put in to save the services of the DGH. When all of us from all parties and none went on those marches along the seafront and to the hospital itself, it was obvious that Stephen Lloyd was putting his whole being into the project.

On the campaign to stop the conversion of The Drive public house into a supermarket in Albert Parade – likewise an all-party effort – I recall a leading local Conservative looking towards Stephen Lloyd and observing: ‘He’ll be a hard act to shift’.

He was undone by last year’s national mood rather than by commentary on his work as an MP. In that one is reminded of the observation of the 1970s Prime Minister, James Callaghan, who said that when a political wave builds up in a particular direction, it becomes unstoppable. That is what happened to the Liberal Democrat party in 2015. Stephen Lloyd was swept away in it, as was Norman Baker in Lewes. If the waters had been even slightly calmer, both men would be – much to my own political disadvantage – in situ still, continuing to make their valuable contributions in the House of Commons. Their erstwhile efforts for their respective constituencies should not now be denigrated following political misfortune.

Edward Thomas

Collington Close

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