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Creation of a Thanet Branch for the Lib Dems

April 18, 2016 3:34 PM

Thanet Lib Dems AGM

Since the General Election, membership in Thanet of the Liberal Democrats has increased by over 50%. On Tuesday in Broadstairs, a separate Thanet branch was set up within the East Kent Coast party (which also includes Dover and Deal). Mika Griffiths, Chair of the new branch, emphasised that many of the new members are young people who want a fairer approach to running the country.

She explained "I joined the party after the General Election last May. In the coalition, the Lib Dems stopped the Tories passing policies which would have unfairly hurt those already worst off in our community. Instead, by raising thresholds, we lifted 3 million of the lowest earners out of paying income tax. The Lib Dems managed to implement policies such as the pupil premium (giving extra money to schools with disadvantaged children). Better childcare and better schooling are really important to us - thanks to the Lib Dems, all infant school children have a school meal every day. We helped young people wanting to find jobs, through the creation of 2 million apprenticeships. But we suffered unfairly because of the undemocratic, first-past-the post voting system - so I joined the Lib Dem fightback". Mika is herself a busy mum who lives in Minster. She added "We have just held our Spring Conference in York and it was amazing to see the energy and enthusiasm. I was one of many first-timers at a Lib Dem conference - in fact, five of the six of us from Thanet who were at the conference were first-timers. It was exciting to be a member of the only party which allows its members to vote on policy at conference".

The creation of the branch is the result of a working group headed by Matt Brown, who was Lib Dem candidate last May in the TDC elections in Dane Valley ward. What will the new branch focus its efforts on? Mika told me "In the first instance, we're campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union, and we're putting our weight behind the campaign to keep Manston Airport open. We have the expert help of Russ Timpson, who was Lib Dem parliamentary candidate in South Thanet at the election. Beyond that, we need to put up a good showing in the KCC elections next year".