North Norfolk Labour Party members are calling on councillor Graham Jones to follow the advice he has given fellow Liberal-Democrat defectors and contest a by-election after his resignation from the party yesterday.

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Mr Jones, 69, has also resigned from the Lib-Dem groups on North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and Norfolk County Council, intending to remain as an “Independent Liberal Democrat”.

In a statement he said he had become “totally disillusioned with party politics across the political spectrum” but admired North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and would continue to support him.

Mr Jones, 69, from Antingham, said he had found being a Liberal Democrat during a coalition government including right-wing Conservatives “difficult”. He added: “There are too many millionaires in a closed shop. They don’t know what real life is all about.”

But Denise Burke, chairman of North Norfolk Labour Party, said his resignation was another example of the Lib Dems in disarray.

She added: “Mr Jones says that there are too many that are out-of-touch in government and defends the local MP, yet Norman Lamb has supported those at the top in every single government vote. We believe Graham Jones should follow the advice he and the Lib Dems gave to all party defectors - councillors Rice, Callaby, and Hardy - which was to resign from their seat and fight a by-election.”

Her view is echoed by Lib-Dem county councillor Paul Morse. In his on-line blog Mr Morse says about Mr Jones’ resignation: “I’m quite surprised; whilst he’s thrown his toys out of the pram many times in the five years I’ve known him and knew he was thinking about it, I didn’t think he would go through with it.

“I was his group leader at the county council for three years and found him something of a maverick; full of great intentions and emotion, but not always logical or organised and I’ve known better team players.

“What will his resignation achieve? Picture in the EDP perhaps and the opportunity for the other political tribes to pour some scorn and/or vitriol towards us?

“I wonder if he is going to resign his seat – he quite rightly expected councillors Rice, Callaby and Hardy to do so when they left the party they had belonged to when elected.”

Mr Jones, a Gaunt ward district councillor, said he felt particularly strongly about government moves to cut council-tax benefits which would see 4,000 people in the NNDC area up to £30 per week worse off.

He resigned from an NNDC working party set up to manage the measure this summer claiming he found it repugnant deciding how much benefit people already struggling financially should lose.

In his resignation statement Mr Jones also accused the Conservative administration at County Hall of dragging politics to a new low, claiming leader Derrick Murphy had done incredible damage to the cause of democracy.

He added that the George Nobbs-led Labour party was a shambles.

Mr Nobbs has defended his party in a letter to the EDP. He said that since the 2009 county council elections the Conservatives had gained three seats and lost three, the Greens had gained none and lost one, the Lib Dems had gained none but lost four and Labour had lost none, but gained two - both at the ballot box.

He added: “It’s a strange definition of a ‘shambles’ councillor Jones.”

Mike Brindle, leader of the Liberal-Democrat group at County Hall, said they were disappointed by Mr Jones’ decision to leave the party and knew he had not supported some of the decisions made by the coalition government.

“The reality is that the economic crisis means that tough decisions have to be made at a national level and these will have an impact locally.”

He added: “While we are sad to see that Graham has become a casualty of these decisions, we as local Liberal Democrats remain firmly behind the work of our MPs in government who continue to work tirelessly in influencing strategic decisions at a national level and protecting our society’s most vulnerable.”

Mr Jones, who lives in Antingham, near North Walsham, said he had also resigned as constituency chairman of the North Norfolk Liberal Democrats two months ago.

But he added: “I couldn’t belong to any other party. I am a Liberal Democrat through and through. I believe in liberal democracy.”

He has represented the Gaunt ward on NNDC since 2003 and the Mundesley division on the county council since 2009. He was a member of Suffolk County Council in the 1980s.

Before retirement Mr Jones worked as the East Anglian field sales and marketing executive for the broadcaster Sky.

35 comments

  • Hope you don't mind if I pass on this one. Labour are a party of vested interests, serving the public sector unions. Conservatives haven't got a clue and LibDems? Well, who knows. And who cares any more

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    weaversway

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • Sayitasitis, don't know if you've lived as long as me, but we agree that Labour are best avoided. In my life I've seen them come to power and each time practically leave the country bankrupt. Not a great fan of any party, but Labour? No thanks

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • I guess by staying on til May,Cllr Jones is avoiding a potentially damaging by-election defeat.This brings the LibDems down to 9 after 25% of the LibDem group have now defected,2 to the Tories and now the previous Chairman of the North Norfolk LibDems has resigned from the party.It is the LibDems association with the Tories in the Coalition he seems he cannot stomach.There are many LibDem supporters who feel just the same,hence the increase in the Labour vote.The Tories only need to lose 19 seats next May to lose overall control but I would suggest it is improbable the LibDems will reach double figures.They are sacrifing their party and its' councillors for the sake of the Coalition and a few ministerial cars.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • omnishambles, my objection isn't parties having 'interests', but vested interests, where their policies are only used to 'buy' votes. You mentioned UKIP. I have no interest in UKIP, but reiterate, I have no interest in any political party. I can see little difference in any of them

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • There are two big differences between Graham Jones and those who have defected to other parties. The first is that although he has fallen out with the Lib Dems he isn't actually repudiating the policies on which he was elected. The second is that unlike others (Rice and Hardy) he owes his election to a personal vote and his record as a District Councillor rather than just to the party ticket. David Callaby was a little different in that he got a proportion of left wing votes who still thought he was Labour! Although I am very disapointed with Graham Jones' decision I won't be joining any calls for resignation. I do echo the views of one contributor who highlighted the real chance that the massive Tory majority on the County Council could vanish next year. There is the prospect of a different kind of County Council such as the successful non Tory administration for most of the 1990's. It is a shame that Graham Jones doesn't appear to want to be part of that future.

    Report this comment

    Gladstone

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • I have some sympathy with Graham Jones' predicament, but still feel that he should stand for re-election. We need to look at the wider context. The number of councillors who have now changed party allegiance over the last couple of years without 'going to the people' is pretty disturbing and is NOT going to help convince the public that Norfolk politics is a clean and open business. Ultimately we need more local people involved -- voting, following County and District Council affairs, and holding members to account. The whole culture must become more open and credible if we are to get people re-engaged.

    Report this comment

    Trevor Ashwin

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • If the man wasn't elected for being a Lib Dem why hasn't he become an independent? Why has he chosen "independent Liberal Democrat" instead? The argument remains that he told others to resign from their seat so Gladstone he should practice what he preaches!

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • Since absolutely no-one who has defected or disgraced themselves for years and years in the cesspit that is Norfolk local politics has put themselves up for a by election, why is everyone jumping up and down like demented squirrels squealing about this particular person? Get over yourselves and we will see what happens next May when the people of Norfolk will finally have a chance in some areas to vote in someone who represents the people of that area and not party interests. And if you want an Independent and there is no-one standing in your area then volunteer yourself. Norfolk politics is broken and the only way of mending it is for you to step up to the plate.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • omnishambles, they've both got vested interest client groups, that's why I will not vote for eithe rparty

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • Aren't we all?

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • POLL: Labour says Lib-Dem defector Graham Jones should defend his seat at a by-election. Do you agree? No. As a general life rule it is better to never agree with anything Labour says!

    Report this comment

    windup

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • He's right in what he says and who can blame him leaving a sinking ship.

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    Heading for Squalor

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • I can understand if he doesn't resign from his county seat, as there is an election for this coming up in 6 months time anyway. However I think he should certainly call an election for his District seat. And, if, as some commentators have suggested, he has been elected on a personal vote then he will win. I am not convinced of that though.

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • Alecto the point is that he was quick to call for previous defectors to stand for a by-election. Do as I say, not as I do springs to mind.

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    Jono

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • For one reason or another, seven per cent of the members of NCC no longer wear the badge under which they were elected. And there has not been the slightest whiff of a by-election. Please, please may we have some worthwhile true independents standing next May.

    Report this comment

    Nemesis

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • Sayitasitis, I read your post. Most apt and amusing. I always smile when I hear rabid Labourites castigating the bankers. Yes, of course they made a true b*lls up. But who the hell gave them free rein, even praising them as an example to all industry. Names such as Brown, Balls and Miliband come to mind. No, I watch the antics and weak wristed action of the Coalition and shudder. But Labour? Fo heaven's sake

    Report this comment

    weaversway

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • Doesn't he realise Norman Lamb is a ring master in this government? He was Nick Clegg's adviser when the Lib Dems started to break their promises! Now Norman is voting for more Tory policies than what the Tories have done!

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Which party doesn't have some interests? Look at UKIP the one district councillor owns a number of shops and supermarkets.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • HI WW I am 61 and 5 twelfths now. I am proud to say that less the 0.0000000000000000000% of that has been wasted listening to the b**l*cks you hear from Labour!!! I do, however remember well 13 yrs of idiocy and a decimation of the most powerful economy in Europe after these p*ll*cks inherited, then destroyed it!!

    Report this comment

    windup

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • Join the club . As for Norman , he`s a Top Man in the Coalition , he has to take responsibility for government policies . I reckon he`ll hold on to his seat , he`s a well known face , not many Labour voters there , and you might as well vote for him as a Tory - as he`s followed their policies .... Next Liberal leader ?

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • Who can afford to stand for election without a Party backing himher? Leaflets cost a lot of money, and time to deliver them. The P&CC has to put up £5000 as a deposit which can easily be lost. Who has that sort of money to gamble?

    Report this comment

    bedoomed

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • I have some sympathy with Graham Jones' predicament, but still feel that he should stand for re-election. We need to look at the wider context. The number of councillors who have now changed party allegiance over the last couple of years without 'going to the people' is pretty disturbing and is NOT going to help convince the public that Norfolk politics is a clean and open business. Ultimately we need more local people involved -- voting, following County and District Council affairs, and holding members to account. The whole culture must become more open and credible if we are to get people re-engaged.

    Report this comment

    Trevor Ashwin

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

  • good points, be doomed, the £5000,- for becoming eligible for the PCC elections seem totally arbitrary, and no returns are offered for it. In general el;ection the deposit is 500,- for which you get a postal drop into every property in the constituency. In Norfolk county council elections next year, when we will hopefully have loads of Independent choices, the nominations will not cost you a penny, but you will have to print a leaflet and have it delivered, a challenge in a rural district. hope this helps.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • "I am a Liberal Democrat through and through" doesn't clear anything up! What does a Liberal Democrat stand for?

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • You're getting confused Weavers. Tories have the vested interests.

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • nick clegg promised a new kind of politics. how is that working out?

    Report this comment

    nhs lover

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • Once again, a party politicians, though still in love with his leader, is failing to ask his constituency whether they like his new coat, if he is that disillusioned with his local party, should he not ask his voters to re-elect him as an Independent? should they still want to be associated with a party that failed to stick to their promises, that is. We have seen many of these immaculate conceptions of late treating voters like add on's and its about time people realise that our party politicians are in it for themselves, not us. Vote for real Independents next May!

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • How has it taken him 2 12 years to leave the Lib Dems? Why now? How did he manage to sit through the tripling of tuition fee's, the destruction of the NHS etc. I think there could be a little more to his resignation that he is letting on

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    Jonny Boggis

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • So he is totally disillusioned with party politics? Join the rest of us pal.

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    John L Norton

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • Basically, the Lib-Dems are history; the party is over. Norman Lamb will be heading for the Lords in 2015 and North Norfolk won't see him for dust. Jones knows this and like any rat, he has deserted the sinking ship. At last he has done the decent thing.

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    Wandering Crab

    Monday, October 15, 2012

  • thats why the lib dems are in this mess too busy keeping the right wingers happy

    Report this comment

    Double Bill

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

  • I should imagine he will be less than willing to resign from his significant twin hatter allowance.

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    Callum Ringer

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • used to be a labour seat in the 80s the left wing voters will be ditching the lib dems now.

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    nhs lover

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • Graham Jones seems to share my views. He likes his MP. I am very fond of my Conservative MP but I would rather chew my own foot off than support these types who pretend to be Tories on the County and District Councils. In any event I have never thought that Party-driven politics should drive the decision making at local level. Look where it has got us now. Murphy is the most unpopular leader in Norfolk's history, with the Tories and their chums the Labour Party cosying up to keep the interests of the local population firmly ground underfoot. Roll on the day that we go back to having independent councillors who actually represent the people and dont sign up to mutely obey their masters under a whip system while raking in their allowances like dog treats that their masters throw them for being so very obedient.

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    alecto

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

  • He may be disillusioned with party politics, but he is certainly deluded if he thinks that Lamb has done anything other than follow the Tory line. As for politics at County and District levels, throughout the UK it is nothing more or less than a sewer of deceit, greed and corruption.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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