Thursday, 24 February 2011
Three Questions For Reading's Lib Dems
1. Has a Reading Lib Dem councillor been suspended by the national party? I'm told the penalty is for 14 days.
(Update: Reading Chronicle confirms this is true and that the councillor is Warren Swaine)
(Update: Is the suspension now 14 weeks?)
2. Is the running of Reading Lib Dem Party under any form of review from the national party?
(Update: Reading Post/Get Reading confirms that Lib Dem national office is forcing change of leadership in Reading Lib Dem local party organisation)
3. Were the Reading Lib Dems about to strike a deal - against national policy - with the Tories not to run opposing candidates in some wards in the May council elections?
It is widely heard that the Lib Dem National Office had to intervene recently to get Cllr Swaine to stand down from the Cabinet after the "Twitter race row" - in the absence of the local leadership making it happen.
Now it seems, that void of leadership under Cllr Kirtsen Bayes may have provoked greater intervention by Lib Dem HQ at Cowley Street.
I have previously described how the local Lib Dems and Tories were said to have been discussing an election pact (source: a RBC Tory Councillor) and rumours are intensifying.
It is clear that the under fire Lib Dem leader Cllr Kirsten Bayes is facing a tough challenge from Labour's Jan Gavin in Redlands - and some may believe that such a pact might, just might, save her neck.
However, voters tend not to like having their options narrowed, or a feeling that a decision has been made for them, so the whole strategy could well back fire!
Perhaps they would like to come clean on these questions.
NB I'm am happy to accept the assurance that Gareth Epps was not quitting is true.
(Update: Gareth Epps now confirms he is NOT defending his seat in Katesgrove this May)