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‘More concerned with Twitter than Trunch’ - former Lib Dem leader quits party

PUBLISHED: 14:33 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:33 09 September 2020

Ed Maxfield, Lib Dem Children's Services spokesman for Norfolk County Council, in the march against government 'under-funding' of education for children with special needs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ed Maxfield, Lib Dem Children's Services spokesman for Norfolk County Council, in the march against government 'under-funding' of education for children with special needs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

An ex-council group leader has quit his party, saying it is “more concerned with appealing to the fringes of Twitter than listening to people who live in Trunch”.

Ed Maxfield. Pic: Liberal Democrats.Ed Maxfield. Pic: Liberal Democrats.

Former Norfolk Liberal Democrat group leader Ed Maxfield has resigned from the party’s group at Norfolk County Council (NCC), citing disappointment with the party’s “shifting values”.

Dr Maxfield, county councillor for Mundesley, has joined the independent group at County Hall.

It comes after he stepped down as group leader of the Liberal Democrats in April and said he did not intend to stand for reelection as a county councillor next year.

He said: “I stood down as group leader because I was so disillusioned with the party’s disastrous approach to Brexit and its 2019 general election campaign.

READ MORE: Councillor defects to Conservative Party after swearing in Zoom meeting

“For a number of years, though, I have felt that the party has been shifting away from my values so that now it gives the impression that it is more concerned with appealing to the fringes of Twitter than listening to people who live in Trunch, Mundesley or Overstrand.”

Dr Maxfield, who is chief executive of Norfolk charity Musical Keys, added: “It breaks my heart to leave a party I have belonged to and campaigned for since I was 18.

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“I know that around the country there are sensible, moderate Lib Dem councillors doing great work.

“The group on North Norfolk district council, under the leadership of Sarah Butikofer, is making a real difference for the communities I represent.

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“But when I received notification my party membership was due for renewal I knew I could not, in good conscience, stay as a party member.”

In an email to group chair Brian Watkins, he added: “I have asked to join the independent group on the council.

“I wish you, and all the members of the group, well in your work to speak for the people you represent on the council.”

Sandra Squire, leader of the county council’s independent group, said: “Both Mick (Castle, deputy leader) and I are thrilled to have Ed Maxfield in the independent group.

“We are a broad church and he is a very welcome addition to the group. We look forward to working with him.”

The Liberal Democrat group have been approached for comment.

READ MORE: New leader for Liberal Democrat group at Norfolk County Council


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