Since 2004 I have been involved with the Liberal Democrats on a local, and a national level, and over this time have met and become friends with a lot of people.
I stood for a first time in what was a fairly safe Conservative seat in 2006, this was in the Timperley Ward (Trafford) and I managed to win this seat.
I stood again in 2010 and held the seat.
in 2014 I stood once again, and this was on the same time as the European elections, the Lib Dems had been in coalition since 2010 and nationally were at an all-time low.
I lost the seat by just 56 votes.
During my time with Trafford Lib Dems, I have been a very active member, have been vice chair to the local party, and also served as chair for three years.
I have also been a campaign manager, and at the 2010 General Elections got the Lib Dems into second place for Altrincham and Sale West.
During my three years as local party chair, we also had a full slate of candidates in the local elections, this was a very challenging task!
I helped to set up the Trafford Lib Dem Print Society, and many other things and nice to see stuff like this thriving today.
In 2014 when I lost my seat an awful lot was taken for granted with “Neil will win” Few, very few had actually been door knocking to know what the mood was.
I will not say I was “let down” by people as that would not be appropriate but some help I was promised failed in an epic way to materialise. This contributed to me losing my seat.
I declared to the local party, that I would take a bit of a break and would see how I felt and in the summer of this year (2016) would let them know.
Meanwhile a fellow colleague that was up for re-election (local elections 2016) used my loss in a lot of campaign material, and also while knocking on doors. I was used like a pawn in a game, but I did not mind and gave my endorsement. Thankfully the result was in the right direction.
Due to a disastrous 2015 General Election result for the Lib Dems, and also the regrettable Brexit outcome the Lib Dems, nationally and locally have seen a surge in new members. This has to only be a good thing.
BUT, the downside is to why and what involvement new members will bring to local campaigns.
So, to cut a long story short, I did offer to put my name forward to re-stand in the 2018 local elections, but this was challenged, and fair enough on that.
I though stated very clearly that I firmly believe to force a local husting for what is a very tiny ward, for me would be just wrong. To divide loyalties and go ahead to head on a local level is just stupid and wrong.
So, rather than force a husting, I have now walked away from the local party, I have leaflets to deliver over the Christmas period, and these will be the last ones.
Over the years, I have delivered thousands upon thousands of leaflets, knocked on thousands of doors, and have walked more miles than I care to think about.
I feel saddened by the attitude of some people involved within the local party, who are acting in a ruthless, un-liberal way and are doing some things for self-promotion, rather than the greater good of the local party.
My time as a former councillor was amazing, but I did it because I love and care for where I have lived all of my life, it was never done for political motivation.
Will I stand again in 2018? For the Lib Dems locally as it stands, no chance.
Would I stand as an independent? Well as they say, never say never…