Conservative councillor for Walton South, Christine Elmer leaves the Conservative Party and switches her allegiance to the Liberal Democrats
Having spent 11 years working for the Conservatives, Walton South councillor Christine Elmer, has joined the Liberal Democrats party today. She announced her departure on Twitter saying:
"I can no longer be a Conservative due to this Gov's hard Brexit. I have today joined the Lib Dems" whilst sharing the link to the Liberal Democrats member sign-up page.
Against the Conservative Brexit, Christine Elmer said:
"I have been unhappy for some time with the political direction of the Conservative party. In recent days this situation had escalated by a series of events, including the announcement by the Prime Minister of a general election about the handling of the terms of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.
As a fervent Remainer I find I can no longer support the government's line on this, nor that of the current MP Dominic Raab. I now find it impossible to be a member of the Conservative party and have therefore decided to join the Liberal Democrat party.
I have served Walton South ward since 2006. In 2014 for the first time in 40 years of Elmbridge Council electoral history I was returned unopposed and in 2016 I received the highest number of votes in the all-out elections called for the ward. I therefore believe I have a personal mandate to continue in office. It is not my intention to cause a by-election.
I will do my best to continue to represent my constituents of Walton South and to look after their interests regardless of political interest. I feel I will be better able to do that as a member of a political party that I can support 100% both at a national level and locally. That party is the Liberal Democrat party."
Richard Waller, Chairman of the Elmbridge Liberal Democrats extended her a warm welcome:
"The Elmbridge Liberal Democrats are delighted to welcome Christine Elmer to the party. She is recognised as being a highly competent Elmbridge councillor and in addition will reinforce our voice opposing a hard Brexit nationally."
Andrew Davis, Liberal Democrat candidate for Esher & Walton in the General Election sees this as part of a growing trend:
"In Esher and Walton, we are seeing more and more people choosing to support the Liberal Democrats. Christine Elmer is one of many. Support for the Liberal Democrats is growing locally and nationally. The Conservatives lost their majority here in the 2016 borough council elections. And in the last six days, since the snap election was called, we've had 12,500 new members join the party.
"Elmbridge is pro-Europe and 60% of us here voted Remain. Yet Dominic Raab, the local Conservative MP, is pushing for a hard Brexit. The majority here don't want a hard Brexit. People here are making their voices heard and choosing Liberal Democrats for Esher and Walton."
About Christine Elmer
Christine Elmer has lived in Elmbridge for over 50 years and has represented Walton South as a Conservative member since May 2006. She was Cabinet Member for Corporate Development from 2008-2010, and has held the post of cabinet member for Social Affairs since May 2010. From 2001-2007 she was a senior policy advisor at DEFRA.
She is married to Chris, a former Elmbridge councillor, who also left the Conservative Party last year to join the Liberal Democrats following the EU referendum. They have two children.