Kingston councillor Sharron Sumner cites ‘lack of vision’ on leaving Liberal Democrat group

A Kingston councillor has resigned from the Liberal Democrat group 100 days after being elected, blaming a lack of vision at the top of the Lib Dem administration.

Sharron Sumner, now an independent councillor for the Alexandra ward, believes the council group has not done enough to address issues like air pollution and local school budgets ‘at breaking point’.

She said she would be speaking out in favour of a 20mph speed limit on residential streets in Alexandra and Surbiton, as well as no idling zones outside schools and increased car parking charges for the most polluting vehicles.

“Manifesto and other commitments have been junked in favour of uninspiring, bureaucratic, more of the same,” she said.

She was particularly upset that elderly residents of Murray Care Home had been given ‘broken promises’.

She stressed that she would continue to support Kingston and Surbiton Liberal Democrat MP Sir Ed Davey.

She said: “I know some of my fellow Lib Dem councillors will be let down by my decision – which hasn’t been easy – but I can’t sit back and see all the goodwill the Lib Dems had from local voters be frittered away without making a stand.

“There is huge talent and experience among the 38 strong Lib Dem group – particularly among the 26 councillors elected for the first time in May.

“But the old heads remain in charge and this talent and creativity isn’t being used properly – instead the officers appear to be in charge.

“And that’s bad for democracy.”

Kingston Council leader Liz Green, who was named in Councillor Sumner’s statement released on August 17, said: “Running a council with the financial difficulties that Kingston Council faces is never going to be easy, and there are no quick fixes to perennial problems like air quality, adult social care and special education needs.”

She added that some of Cllr Sumner’s ideas had already been incorporated into their manifesto.

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