Former Burgess Hill Tory councillors join Lib Dems

Councillor Robert Eggleston, Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Mid Sussex, Richard Cherry, Christine Cherry and councillor Roger Cartwright, Lib Dem constituency chair for Mid Sussex
Councillor Robert Eggleston, Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Mid Sussex, Richard Cherry, Christine Cherry and councillor Roger Cartwright, Lib Dem constituency chair for Mid Sussex

Two former Conservative Burgess Hill councillors have joined the Lib Dem party.

Former town mayor Christine Cherry and ex-district councillor Richard Cherry said their decisions had been made because the Tory Party had ‘changed beyond recognition’ and had ‘ditched’ its core values to ‘purse an obsession for a do-or-die Brexit’.

Lib Dem constituency chair for Mid Sussex Roger Cartwright welcomed the pair who ‘along with the many other new members who are joining us in the centre ground of UK politics during these turbulent times’.

This comes on the heels of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to prorogue Parliament between early September and mid-October, with the country set to leave the EU on October 31.

The Government could attempt to force a general election if it suffers a defeat at the hands of MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit.

In a statement Mr and Mrs Cherry said: “Firstly, it must be emphasised that this news is not about us. It’s about the difficult decision we know many people are facing who also feel that the, so called, ‘Conservative and Unionist Party’ has changed beyond recognition from the party many of us have supported for most of our lives.

“A party that once respected tolerance, wealth creation and the unity of the United Kingdom, and had an aversion to reckless behaviour has now ditched all of these core values to pursue an obsession for a ‘do or die Brexit’.

“The death of the real Conservative Party is not the whole story. It is also about the resurgence of the Liberal Democrats, enhanced by a bright new leader; honest in her views and tenacious in her approach. A party which is unequivocal in its values of open government, diversity, a strong economy, the continuation of the United Kingdom, international collaboration and safeguarding our natural planet for future generations.

“The list is longer than this but there is nothing with which we fundamentally disagree; far from it, they are our values too. In fact, after months of uncertainty we feel we have found a true political home with the Liberal Democrats.”

The news will come as another boost for the Lib Dems in Mid Sussex, who increased their number of seats on Mid Sussex District Council from one to 13 at May’s election.

The party also has 11 of 18 seats on Burgess Hill Town Council.

Mr Cartwright said: “I worked closely with Richard Cherry on the remain side of the referendum and was impressed by his energy and commitment. Chris Cherry was my predecessor as mayor of Burgess Hill and she has been very helpful in handing things over and giving me advice.

“I am delighted to welcome them both into the Liberal Democrats along with the many other new members who are joining us in the centre ground of UK politics during these turbulent times.”