Lib Dem turns on Tory MP

James Bacon and Liam Atkins have formed an unlikely alliance
James Bacon and Liam Atkins have formed an unlikely alliance

A LEADING local Liberal Democrat has exposed the cracks in the Coalition Government after urging voters to help make sure the town’s Tory MP is kicked out in 2015.

Voters will go to the polls on May 5 to decide whether they want to change the way MPs are elected in this country.

Nick Perry, a local LibDem campaigner is urging residents to back the Yes campaign which would see the alternative vote (AV) system replace the current first past the post arrangement. And despite his party being in league with the Conservatives up in Westminster, Mr Perry has backed the changes as a “pretty reliable mechanism for ensuring that there is no longer a Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye after the next General Election.”

Over recent weeks, grassroots Lib Dem supporters have become more and more disenchanted with the alliance with the Tories, most vociferously over the plans to reform the NHS, and Mr Perry’s comments show there is no love lost between him and Amber Rudd MP.

Supporters of the change to AV claim that it would mean less votes were wasted and that by making sure MPs had to win 50 per cent of the votes cast it would bring an end to tribal party politics. But opponents say AV is too complicated and leads to unstable governments.

Meanwhile two young political activists have joined forces to oppose the changes. Liam Atkins, who stood for the Tories in Hollington at the last council elections, and James Bacon, who leads the local Young Labour group are have united to fight for the No campaign.

In a joint statement they said: “This isn’t about Labour vs Tory, it’s about all voters, from all walks of life, coming together to fight against something which could change our country forever. The suffragettes campaigned and even died for equal votes for ‘one person, one vote’, now the politicians want to change all this on the whim of a few MPs.”

“We believe AV is a politicians’ fix. It leads to more hung parliaments, backroom deals and broken promises like the Lib Dem tuition fees u-turn,” they added.

While Amber Rudd MP has come out against the changes, the local Labour party says it is up to individual members how they want to vote.

There are concerns that there will be a low turnout as there are no other elections going on that day in Hastings and St Leonards, unlike in other parts of the country where council elections are also taking place.