Graham Chrystie, a Pyrford Councillor for 8 years, has left the Conservative party and joined the Liberal Democrats. The move comes on the eve of May’s local elections.
“The Conservative Party in Woking is failing on openness, proper consultation and financial disclosure,” points out Cllr Chrystie. “The Leader of the Council, who has his main residence in Scotland, has curtailed debate within the Conservative group and has proceeded with projects which too often lack transparency,” he continued. “Residents have not been properly consulted on key decisions such as plans for a Pub/Restaurant on West Byfleet Recreation Ground, a site held by the Borough only as a Trustee for local residents.”
Cllr Chrystie is surprised that the Conservative administration seem to be proud of the fact that Woking Borough has borrowed more money than almost any other Local Authority in England. He has seen West Byfleet poorly treated and regrets the sorry state of the partly derelict village centre that is a far cry from the vibrant centre of a few years ago.
“I cannot in conscience remain a member of the Conservative Group,” said Cllr Chrystie. “I now feel I can work more effectively for my ward residents and deliver what local people want, within the Liberal Democrat Group, where I can operate within an established, harmonious and effective team.”
During his time as a councillor, Cllr Chrystie has tirelessly supported the two Neighbourhood Forums which have been registered in his area. He believes that Forums give an important voice to our local communities. He is delighted that there is now a Forum moving ahead in Hoe Valley, with major input from the Lib Dems, and is disappointed that the Conservative administration has apparently delayed progress on this.
Welcoming Cllr Chrystie to the Liberal Democrat Group, Leader Cllr Ann-Marie Barker said, “Graham is an excellent councillor for Pyrford. He makes a huge contribution to the Council, planning committee in all aspects, overview and scrutiny committee and financial scrutiny together with the Joint Committee between the Borough and County Council. Beyond the Council he has been a representative on Voluntary Services and Community Transport, where he has worked closely with my deputy Cllr Deborah Hughes. Graham will be a fantastic addition to the Liberal Democrat group, bringing his finance and planning knowledge and his experience with neighbourhood forums”.
Cllr Barker said “Both nationally and locally, the Conservatives are a fiasco and the Lib Dems are the clear alternative. Unlike the Tories, we are willing to take step back and think of the consequences, Local people have the opportunity to change Woking's future on May 2nd by voting for change with the Lib Dems."
Cllr Graham Chrystie is not up for election in 2019. Having topped the ballot paper in 2016 his term of office runs until May 2020.