LibDems lose two in South Somerset

To misquote Oscar, to lose one serving councillor might be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.

The Leveller understands that both of the councillors for Martock, Louise Clarke and Neil Bloomfield have resigned today from the LibDem benches at South Somerset District Council. Both will now serve as Independent councillors.

As the 2019 election produced a LibDem majority of 22 on the council, this will not change the overall balance of power, but it will be a concern to the administration to lose two high profile councillors on the same day.

In his letter of resignation Mr Bloomfield expresses some frustration with the way business is being conducted in South Somerset:

I moved to the Liberal Democrat group on SSDC under the then leader Ric Pallister. I had always been impressed by what I saw from across the chamber. Since the change of leadership I have quite frankly cringed more often than I care to remember. Whilst not relevant here, this is not a singular view.

Recently I have become more concerned about the manner in which planning, probably the greatest public concern we deal with, moving into a rather shadowy place, secret meetings, warnings not to disclose decisions and attempts made to “convince” cllrs to do the “right” thing. This just adds to the perception that planning is not above board, certainly this is the feeling in my Ward.

Then there are national issues to consider. Liberal means to be respect or understand the views of others different to your own. This does not align with the decision to reverse Article 50 without even going to the membership. In National Democracy Week I find there is a distinct lack of democracy in parts of the Liberal Democrat party. Much applause is heard when an MP or Cllr comes across, more interested perhaps in saving their own skins than taking a principled position. Is it any wonder politicians are ridiculed.

There is a democratic deficit in the party and it’s more evident in SSDC. I fight hard for those I represent but am not supported, in fact in some cases quite the opposite. When officers seem to be in control rather than the administration then something is clearly wrong. Worse than a poor leadership is poor leadership which thinks its in charge and doing a good job. I have little if any confidence in the current leader of SSDC, the transformation program is so far behind, we can barely answer the phones, our local service is getting worse, we are borrowing massive sums to buy property around the country with no prior scrutiny by the elected council. “Putting residents first” is my election mantra, is my firm belief and what I do. It’s easy to say but it’s clearly not a reality for some.

Whilst I do not direct this at all in the party, in general terms I do not feel wanted or even welcome and therefore resign from the Liberal Democrat Party with immediate effect.


Cllr Neil Bloomfield, Martock Ward


  1. Neil Williams Reply

    Who can blame them? Ignore National politics and the mess that is, but a bit more local you would expect proper democracy.
    The shambles that is so evident, so clear, so unjust by people sitting on the planning committees beggars belief.
    I was there and present when the chair of the planning committee did a recount 3 times for a vote to force mass housing on Martock. Now I might not have an ‘A’ Level in mathematics but how hard is it to count to 7 against and 6 for. Such a clear and basically undemocratic way to ‘keep voting until we get the right answer.’ I’ll even go as far as to question corruption going on, and if you want to send the Police around for a word bring it on, because I would love an investigation into the goings on within SSDC.

  2. Garfield Kennedy Reply

    Surprisingly statement from a councillor who should surely have known that last month’s Lib Dem Annual Conference in Bournemouth debated at length and then voted overwhelmingly to revoke Article 50 should there be a Lib Dem administration. Your statement is grossly inaccurate: “…the decision to reverse Article 50 without even going to the membership. In National Democracy Week I find there is a distinct lack of democracy in parts of the Liberal Democrat party.” If in the unlikely event that the Lib Dems achieved such a dramatic swing to take Jo Swinson into No.10, what is the point in being the party consistently against a dishonestly peddled Brexit to then NOT reverse Article 50? I think you and your colleague were either in the wrong party in the first place or you have been sitting in an isolation chamber for the past year. I strongly recommend you look up “cognitive dissonance”!!

  3. Neil Bloomfield Reply

    One of the joys of a democracy is freedom of speech. You have your view and I mine. I don’t think the BIC seating capacity reaches 120,000 so my point is valid and you of course have a right to disagree. Ain’t democracy great!

  4. Susan Andrews Reply

    Neil you represented your parish very well but I for one would not vote to elect the Lib Dems when they join with the Tories. That is not what I voted for in a General Election however I would fully support you as an Independent.

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