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Cllr David Beavan, deputy leader of East Suffolk Council, was expelled from the Liberal Democrats after 55 years for supporting Adrian Ramsay.
Cllr David Beavan, deputy leader of East Suffolk Council, was expelled from the Liberal Democrats after 55 years for supporting Adrian Ramsay.

A city councillor was expelled from his party after 55 years because he supported the parliamentary candidate of another party.

David Beavan, deputy leader of East Suffolk Council (ESC) and former member of the East Suffolk Liberal Democrat group, has endorsed Adrian Ramsay, leader of the Green Party and candidate for Waveney Valley.

The new constituency on the border between Norfolk and Suffolk consists of parts of five former Conservative seats.

David Beavan, former deputy leader of East Suffolk Council, has been expelled from the Liberal Democrats after 55 years

It is one of the Green Party’s four target seats in the parliamentary elections.

The Liberal Democrats said that Councillor Beavan had breached party rules by supporting Mr Ramsay and had therefore been expelled from the party.

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Councillor Beavan said he was “impressed” by Mr Ramsay after he spoke at a demonstration in Sizewell.

Cllr Beavan had pledged his support to Adrian Ramsay, the Green candidate for Waveney Valley, which led to his exclusion. Image: Submitted

“I thought he was crazy to take on this Tory stronghold, but he has worked hard to build relationships with people and is now hot on the Conservatives’ heels,” he said.

“So I was very surprised and saddened to hear second-hand from a local member last week about this bizarre decision by head office whilst I was busy canvassing for the party in North Norfolk – they have shot themselves in the foot.

“If I wanted to be told what to do by party officials, I would have joined the Communist Party. Then at least I am still free to say and think what I think is right for Southwold and East Suffolk.”

Cllr Beavan remains in East Suffolk Council’s cabinet as an independent. Image: Siobhan Middleton

Councillor Beavan said Waveney Valley was not a target constituency for the Liberal Democrats or Labour.

He has spent his weekends campaigning for Liberal Democrat Steff Aquarone in North Norfolk, who is seeking to reclaim Norman Lamb’s former seat.

Mr Lamb, who served in government during the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, also supported Mr Ramsay for Waveney Valley.

Cllr Beavan said: “I know there are people in the Liberal Democrat hierarchy who are very afraid of losing votes to the Greens.

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“Perhaps they hope that my exclusion will bring about the collapse of our harmonious coalition with its one-vote majority in the council. However, I will continue to play my role in the administration as an independent.

“I will continue to support the Liberal Democrat candidates and Adrian.”

Councillor Beavan first stood for the Liberal Party in 1974 at the age of 22 and secured the party’s highest share of the vote to date in Waveney with 22 percent.

He was elected to Waveney Town Council in 2018 with 80 percent of the vote as the only Liberal Democrat.

Mr Ramsay said: “I am very grateful to David for his support and very sad that he has been expelled from his party.

“Whether he belongs to a party or not, I know he has been a great councillor for the people of Southwold and I am sure he will continue to be one.”

Cllr Beavan worked closely with the Greens to set up the Eurovision Song Contest and agreed not to compete against each other, meaning they took control of the Eurovision Song Contest from the Conservatives last year.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “Our party rules, which every member agrees to when joining the party, are clear: supporting another political party against a Liberal Democrat candidate is incompatible with membership of the Liberal Democrats.”

“Cllr Beavan promoted his support for another party’s candidate through paid adverts on social media, following which an independent panel revoked his membership of the Liberal Democrats.”

By Isla