Former Lib Dem Simon switches to the Greens

THE first Green councillor has joined Arun District Council.

Simon McDougall has become its first member of the Green Party since Arun started in 1974.

Cllr McDougall made his move after six months as an independent following his resignation from the Liberal Democrats.

He said: “The Greens are a growing party of the left side of politics, where my heart is, who offer an alternative to the right wing rhetoric of UKIP.

“The Green Party have been clear in supporting a referendum on Europe.

“The Greens are promoting the case of a living wage, defending the NHS as a service and will not privatise it.

“They have progressive environmental policies that will protect us from the threat of climate change, whereas other parties deny the evidence this is even happening.

“The Greens are fighting for welfare policies that ensure those less well off in society have a safety net that they can rely on.”

Cllr McDougall has been on Arun council for 23 years. He had been a Lib Dem member for an extra year. He also stood for the party in the 2010 general election.

He said many people who supported him at the ballot box signed up to the Lib Dem agenda. But they were badly let down when the party joined the coalition government.

“I never supported the coalition and its consequences, like the rise in VAT, abandoning free student tuition and the bedroom tax. I have not changed but political parties have,” he said.

Arun’s Lib Dem group leader Cllr Francis Oppler, said: “ I have been friends with Simon for over 20 years, but I am struggling to understand how often he changes his mind.

“At the start of this year he was a Lib Dem, by June an independent, and now a Green.”