Suffield Park defecting councillor says current and planned policies forced him to leave Tories

Nigel Pearce

Nigel Pearce

A councillor has spoken out about why he defected from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats.

North Norfolk district councillor Nigel Pearce, who attended his first council meeting this week since making the move, said: 'I've been a loyal Tory since I was 15. I worked for Mrs Thatcher in London and worked in various Conservative offices down there.

'Then when I moved to North Norfolk in the 1990s I continued to work for the party and was elected to local council.'

But Mr Pearce, who lives in the Suffield Park area he represents, has found it increasingly difficult to support Tory policies at a local and higher level.

'There are certain policies currently coming through the North Norfolk District Council, or are planned, that I cannot support on a personal level,' Mr Pearce said. 'However they are not currently in the public's knowledge and it would be unfair to comment on those at this time.'

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Responding to comments that Mr Pearce would have to continue to support Tory policies that he was elected to carry out, Mr Pearce said: 'I work for all members of my ward, whether they vote Tory, Labour, Lib Dem or independently.

'This isn't parliament, this isn't politics. We should all be working together as local councillors to be doing the best for our community. I've always had a good relationship with my fellow colleagues from other parties and I hope that continues.'

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Mr Pearce, 63, continued: 'I've had a lot of emails which are supportive, both from Lib Dem supporters and Tory supporters which surprised me.

'Of course there have been a few people who haven't been so positive about it but that was to be expected.'

Mr Pearce was also pleased with the reception he had received from the Liberal Democrat party and has already been re-elected to the council's planning and development committee.

'I know the Liberal Democrats will make use of my talents and not use me,' he added. 'We've already spoken about where I can get involved and I'll help wherever I can and to the best of my capabilities. I obviously won't take anything on which I'm not qualified to do.'

Tory councillor Nigel Dixon said of the move: 'Nigel thinks that his voice will be better heard in another system and we wish him luck in his new party.'

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