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July 7th, 2020.

Statement from Councillor Steve Saunders:

It is with regret, that I am announcing my withdrawal from the Cooperative Alliance, currently in administration at Lewes District Council.

After representing Newhaven as a Liberal Democrat Councillor for over 11 years from May 2007, I resigned from the party in November 2018 and successfully fought as an Independent, to regain my seats on both District and Town Councils in May 2019.

In July last year I helped bring the opposition parties together to form the Cooperative Alliance, which took control of the District Council from the Conservatives. I had hoped that the parties could work together and put politics aside, in order to properly represent the residents and constructively approach the challenges that lay ahead.

In the early months that was indeed the case, but as time has gone on I have become frustrated by a resurgence of political motives from certain individuals within the group, which have begun to affect the way the administration is functioning.

Next year’s County elections are beginning to have a political influence on the functionality of all local authorities and in this regard, LDC is no exception.

The number of seats held by the Alliance remains sufficient for them to stay in administration and despite my decision, I hope to retain my seats on both the Planning and PPAC (Policy, Performance Advisory) Committees, as well as remaining a Trustee at Wave Leisure for the Council.

I have always been against a culture of blind allegiance to party ideals. An expectation that members of a group should vote according to what they’re told, rather than what they believe to be the correct one of the reasons I abandoned my membership of a political party and became an independent.

I was grateful for the support of residents in May 2019 and I hope that people feel that I have remained true to the commitments I made to them then and know that I will continue to do so. I will equally support any proposals at LDC and NTC that I consider will have a positive effect for the residents and businesses of our Towns and District.

The problems we all face, through the consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic, are a real threat to our communities’ futures. We must be proactive in our response to the challenges ahead and ensure we put ourselves in a strong position to meet them head on.

Cllr. Steve Saunders
Newhaven North Ward Councillor