Somerset’s Tories and Lib Dems in meltdown as election campaign enters final days

Anna Lynch
“An unheard of number of Tories and Lib Dems standing down reflects the true state of both parties” says Anna Lynch Labour candidate for Taunton South

As the election campaign reaches its final few days it’s now clear that the Tory and Lib Dem parties in the county lack both the will and desire to run Somerset. With big names like failed former Leader of the Council Ken Maddock, and former Lib Dem cabinet members such as Cathy Bakewell, retiring from front line politics in the county, Anna Lynch , Labour candidate for Taunton South, makes the case that only the Labour Party has the purpose needed to turn the county council around and begin putting the people of Somerset first.

The declining ambition of our opponents is apparent from the news that twenty existing councillors, from both the Tories and Lib Dems, will not be defending their seats. This is an unheard of number standing down and reflects the true state of both parties, with reduced enthusiasm and activism at all levels. The Lib Dems were unable to even find a full slate of candidates to contest the county elections, surrendering the mantle of the true opposition to the Tories in Somerset to the Labour Party.

The following councillors will not be contesting their seats:


  • Kenneth Maddock – Mendip South
  • Matthew Ellis – Mendip North East
  • Ronald Forest – Mendip West
  • Derek Alder – North Petherton
  • Bob Little – Castle Cary
  • Tony McMahon – Upper Tone
  • Derek Nelson – Curry Rivel
  • Anthony Trollope-Bellew – Watchet & Quantocks
  • Elaine Waymouth – Staplegrove
  • John Wilkins – Lydeard
  • Jimmy Zouche – Somerton

Liberal Democrat

  • Cathy Bakewell – Coker
  • Gloria Cawood – Mendip Central and East
  • Stephen Brooks – Taunton East
  • Tim Carroll – Yeovil West
  • Maggy Daniell – Frome Selwood
  • Stephen Gill – Bridgwater South
  • Jenny Kenton – Chard North
  • Kim Turner – Illminster
  • Alan Paul – Taunton West

Burnt out

After four years of running Somerset County Council into the ground the Tories are now running on empty. They have run out of ideas, run out of leadership and run out of time. Endless amounts of money have gone out of the door to a range of consultancy firms to little purpose. What has Somerset to show for it? A half finished reorganisation of the council that has failed even on its own half-baked terms, vastly reduced services to the public, demoralised staff, and a declining local economy.

Neither do the Lib Dems have the answers, with no plan for what they would actually do should they run Somerset again. Instead they lazily expect to gain an unearned inheritance from the Tories as the council drifts back to them. Their alternative budget was a piece of fiction that failed to address the fundamental issues of a reduced government grant and falling revenues; instead it plucked fantasy figures from thin air to balance the books. Their plan must be summarised as “jam tomorrow”; all the nasty Tory cuts will be easily reversed and endless bounty will be found through sketchy promises of increasing council revenue. Council officers who reviewed the Lib Dem alternative budget found it wanting and not a credible set of proposals.

Let us be clear this is the same set of people who lumbered the tax payers of Somerset with the ongoing farce of SouthWest One. The same people who failed to ask the right questions in the past are now running the Lib Dems in Somerset, such as Lib Dem leader Sam Crabb, who still continues to believe, despite the evidence, that SouthWest One should have worked. These are the same people whose denial of their party’s participation in coalition government with the Tories has stripped them of the capacity to effectively oppose Tory misrule in Somerset for the past four years.

 Labour campaigning hard

lab flag 2
Labour campaigners taking the message onto the streets of Taunton Deane “Labour has a sense of purpose. That’s why we have a full slate of candidates .”

By contrast Labour has a sense of purpose. That’s why we have a full slate of candidates and are campaigning hard across the county on behalf of the people of Somerset.

We make no easy promises. We know that the next four years are going to be tough. We would do things differently to the Tories and the Lib Dems; prioritising local businesses, support to the most vulnerable, investment in education for the future, and a focus on building a sustainable economy for Somerset. We would revitalise local democracy and put control back in the hands of the people of Somerset. We would challenge arrangements with private companies that see Somerset tax payer’s money leave the county rather than benefiting the economy of the county.

The Labour Party welcomes the challenge and the opportunity to build a better, fairer county council that puts the people of Somerset first.


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