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2017 Message from the Chair

February 18, 2017 10:11 PM
By Martyn Pennington
Martyn Pennington

Martyn Pennington, 2017 Chair of East Kent Coastal Libdems

As incoming Chair of the Liberal Democrats in our area I want you to know that 2017 will be a busy and, I hope, encouraging year for us. We plan to build on the string of successes in 2016:

  • Our local membership in East Kent has more than doubled in the last 18 months, with over 100 members in each of the Thanet and Dover branch areas;
  • Nationally we have a fantastic record in by-elections, not just in Parliament but in Council elections where we gained 22 seats from other parties in 2016.

There is a huge amount of interest in what we have to say - I was recently at a meeting in Canterbury to hear our leader, Tim Farron, speak, and it was packed out. So don't be shy about being a Lib Dem - tell your friends!

Some people are unsure about our view on Europe:

  • We still believe Britain's best place is as a member of the EU, but we accept that in the East Kent region, the vote was clearly to leave;
  • We think Britain's future place in the world should be decided through open debate, especially in Parliament, and ultimately by the people in a referendum, not by a Tory stitch-up.

Don't accept that intolerance, xenophobia and nastiness are the norm, just because Brexiteers won the referendum - we need to stand up for a tolerant, united society where every person is given respect and support.

We have work to do in 2017, not only in investing energy and time fighting the Kent County Council elections, but in general in convincing our friends a family that our country's long term future lies with an open, forward-looking, and compassionate style of government. Let's do it!