At their combined AGMs on 24 November Putney Liberal Democrats and Battersea & Tooting Liberal Democrats passed resolutions to combine into a single local party, Wandsworth Liberal Democrats, to cover the whole borough of Wandsworth.
Matthew Green, Chair of the Battersea & Tooting Liberal Democrats commented: "The local parties in Wandsworth have seen an astonishing growth in membership - more than trebling in two years. This shows that there is a lot of latent support for the party here, in spite of the dominance of the council by the Conservatives and Labour. This new organisation will help us exploit that opportunity."
The meeting also appointed an Executive Committee for the new local party, to take effect on 1 January 2017:
Chair: Caroline Ogden
Treasurer: Matthew Green
Secretary: Eileen Riley Arms
Membership Development Officer: Jon Irwin
Data Officer: Andy Hinton
Committee members: Stephen Bieneck, Hugh Brown, Mark Gitsham, Carol Griffiths, Varun Manthri, Jordi Martinez, Katie Merrell, Constanza de Toma
Prospective Parliamentary candidates: Richard Davies (Battersea), Alex Glassbrook (Tooting), Ryan Mercer (Putney)
The Liberal Democrats are to adopt a unified borough organisation, according to proposals agreed by the executives of Battersea and Tooting Liberal Democrats and Putney Liberal Democrats in October. These proposals will be put to members at a joint AGM on 24 November 2016.
When the Liberal Democrats were formed from the merger of the Liberal Party and the SDP in 1988, each of Wandsworth's three parliamentary constituencies had its own local party. The Battersea and Tooting parties merged shortly after, as membership at the time was weak, especially in Battersea. Membership now is at record levels, with over 750 across the borough. This follows dramatic growth locally after the general election of 2015 and the EU referendum earlier this year. However, changes to the way constituency boundaries are determined mean that it is more appropriate to organise on a borough basis.
"We want to work on success in local government elections first, as a basis for building support in parliamentary elections," says Putney Chair Godfrey Shocket, "so focusing on the borough makes sense, as well as being a better use of volunteer time."
"It was first proposed to merge the parties in the 1990s, but it was never considered a priority. However most local parties in London now work on a borough basis, including neighbouring Richmond and Merton, so now is a good moment to make the change," says Matthew Green, Chair of Battersea and Tooting Liberal Democrats.
"Our recent membership surge shows that there are many party supporters here in Wandsworth who are badly served by the Conservative and Labour parties. This is a good base from which the merged party can build," adds Matthew.
More details on the merger for members are here.
Wandsworth Liberal Democrats are delighted that TfL are to review options for cycle facilities along Tooting Bec Road, following a petition the party submitted to City Hall. This will form part of the Quietway initiative linking Croydon to Waterloo.
Local resident Eileen Riley Arms has been nominated for the Tooting ward by-election on 18 August. Eileen has been getting a good response on the doorstep, with her message that if you vote for the Conservatives or Labour you will just get the same old policies in Wandsworth Council. "We need a fresh look," she says.
Alex Glassbrook explains why he thinks you should vote for him this Thursday 16th June for a positive liberal future for Tooting.
The local Liberal Democrats are delighted to read about our new Mayor's support for clean air routes to schools. Perhaps both the Mayor, the local Labour team and the Conservative led council could be more supportive of the series of safer streets petitions that the Lib Dems have run in recent years.
Local man Alex Glassbrook has just been selected to fight the Tooting by-election for the Liberal Democrats and immediately vowed to make fighting for the NHS and in particular St George’s Hospital his top priority.
"The NHS is under threat and we must protect its vital work, as well as step up the Lib Dem campaign for better mental health care," said Alex, a married barrister with two young sons who lives near Wandsworth Common. "I live in the area and love the area and am determined to fight for the area."
Spotted in Tooting, have you seen them?
There are a couple of consultations that are currently on-going that we wanted to bring to your attention: Dr Johnson Avenue / Tooting Common & Borough-wide consultation on default 20mph speed limit