Local election
Lib Dem leader left baffled at defeat

By Ian Dipple 11/05 Updated: 11/05 10:16

Buy photos » Malcolm Hall reflects on the loss of his seat. Picture by Marcus Mingins 1912007MMR10

FORMER Liberal Democrat leader Malcolm Hall has called for his party to be clearer about the difference they are making in the national coalition government after losing his borough council seat.

Mr Hall’s defeat in Winyates to Labour brings to an end an 18 year presence by the Liberal Democrats on the council which at one time had seen them gain as many as five councillors.

The party’s other candidates were also shunned by voters across the borough with The Green Party the main beneficiaries taking third place in five wards and tying with them in another.

Although Mr Hall took some comfort from his personal showing where he came second, beating the Conservatives into third, he called on national party leader Nick Clegg to start being clearer with people about the difference the Liberal Democrats were making in the coalition.

“It is a tragedy in British politics that people relate local issues to the national situation. I don’t understand why we are so unpopular at the moment nationally anyway because we are the good guys in the Government trying to stop the excesses of the Conservatives,” he said.

“I’ve worked hard in the constituency for 18 years, all of the other candidates were untried and untested and most of the electorate in Winyates know I work hard for the constituency and it’s very disappointing.

“We need to keep the coalition together for the sake of the country but I don’t think it does any harm at all to show where we disagree with the Tory aspects of the coalition and where we differ with strategy we should make it known. I would like Mr Clegg to be more open with what the debates are in cabinet and where he is losing it.”

Mr Hall, who has been a councillor for 14 years, said he had not decided if he would stand again.

“I intend to be around anyway. You don’t have to be a councillor to do work in the community trying to make Redditch a better place and that’s exactly what I will be doing.”

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