Cllr Dowdle switches parties
A BORDON district councillor has switched from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservative Party.
Councillor Ian Dowdle, who represents voters from Whitehill Pinewood ward at East Hampshire District Council, has decided to make the switch after becoming disillusioned with the Lib Dems nationally.
But despite his move, he insists nothing is going to change the way he acts while representing the people who voted him in. He said: “I got a good response from talking to people when I stood at the last election and I think that is why they voted for me. I don’t think party politics played a huge part in it. I think people within my ward and within my town will see it as it is.”
Cllr Dowdle said he made the change after agreeing with Tory policies on matters such as the NHS and education.
He did not want to continue funding the Lib Dems through his membership fees as had lost faith in their ideas.
He said: “It is something I have been thinking about for a considerable amount of time.
“The Lib Dems have had a couple of leaders recently and I have to say I am really disappointed that Nick Clegg was chosen rather than Chris Huhne.
“And I am not entirely happy with how the party is going nationally.
“More and more I have heard Conservatives on TV debates and talking about their policies and I agree with it.”
However, he was keen to stress national politics should have no place influencing local councils.
Cllr Dowdle said: “I don’t think politics particularly play a huge part in what is happening in our town. In fact politics should stay well out of it.
“I don’t think people in the town would forgive us if politics started getting in the way of what we are doing.
“I have worked very successfully with both Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors equally, and there is no reason why that should have to change.”
Cllr Dowdle won his seat on EHDC 11 months ago at the last election.
Before then, he had become a prominent figure in the town as chairman of the Whitehill and Bordon Business Breakthrough Group and later the Whitehill and Bordon Town Partnership Group.
Since joining the ranks of EHDC, he has played an important role in organising the Whitehill and Bordon Opportunity project, where he sits as a member of the executive committee.
EHDC Lib Dem Group chairman cllr Sam Payne said: “Ian told the Lib Dem group last week that had had no problems with our party locally but I am sure the motives for his defection will soon become apparent.
“Ian was elected as a Lib Dem.
“He should now do the honest thing, resign, call a byelection and stand again as a Tory and let the people people of Pinewood decide who they want to represent them.”
EHDC leader cllr Ferris Cowper, who also leads EHDC’s Tories, welcomed cllr Dowlde’s switch.
“I’m obviously very pleased to welcome Ian,” he said.
“The thing that pleases me most of all is getting someone of Ian’s immense talent to work directly with senior councillors and officers of the district council in the interests of the residents of the town. For me, local government should be less about politics and more about the ability, passion and commitment of the community leaders.
“There is no doubt in my mind that when it comes to the town of Bordon and Whitehill, Ian delivers ability, passion and commitment in spadeloads.”
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Weather for Petersfield
Friday 13 December 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: South west