East Wight Primary – Statement of Withdrawing!

March 07, 2024

Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats statement regarding East Wight Primary participation

Campaigning up to, and through, elections is governed by acts of parliament that covers both political parties and non-party campaigners such as the East Wight Primary. Breaches of electoral law can result in severe penalties.

The local Liberal Democrat team have sought advice relating to participating in the primary. The expert advice from our national compliance officers is that the significant problems relating to participation by political parties and electoral law mean that Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats cannot take part in the primary process.

Cllr Andrew Garratt – Chair of IW Lib Dem Party – 7th March 2024

Michael Lilley’s statement – 7th March 2024:

As the official Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Lib Dems Party for the new constituency of Isle of Wight East, I was invited to be part of the East Wight Primary. I initially and provisionally agreed to take part and was planning to speak at the first one on the 11th March 2024 in Sandown. I have now in discussion with the local and national Lib Dems Party decided I have no option but to withdraw, below is my statement and reasons why:

“My full intention was to take part in the East Wight Primary and I have a deep respect for the organisers who are good and caring local people. However, I and the local Lib Dems party have for some time raised with them concerns about participation, including the risk of breaking electoral law inadvertently by a candidate taking part.

My team and local Lib Dems party sought advice. I have now received advice from the national Lib Dems party that my concerns were correct and unfortunately my involvement as an official Lib Dems candidate in the Primary would seriously put at risk my being MP for Isle of Wight East should I be elected in the forthcoming general election.

This legal consideration applies to candidates of all parties standing for election in Isle of Wight East should they participate in the Primary.

The advice is that participation in a Primary of this nature by a candidate could result in an investigation by the police and possible prosecution. I cannot take this risk and go against the party’s advice. 

I will continue to work tirelessly for the local community as the official Lib Dems Isle of Wight East prospective parliamentary candidate, but regretfully I have no option but to withdraw from the East Wight Primary at this late stage. I am extremely sad about this, but I cannot put at risk the opportunity for Isle of Wight East to have the MP and representative that it so desperately needs.

I have worked tirelessly and effectively as both Isle of Wight and Town Councillor and former Mayor of Ryde in creating real positive change for our communities, environment and local businesses, and will continue to support and promote all these aspects and more of Isle of Wight East should I be elected as its MP.

There are so many issues that need a strong and effective MP fighting their cause. Issues such as ferry regulation, NHS dentists for all, local NHS and Local Authority services and funding, Cost of Living, employment and futures of young people. I have already initiated and seen to implementation positive changes for many of these concerns as a successful Councillor and Mayor, but there is so much more that I can achieve as MP for Isle of Wight East.

I do wish the East Wight Primary organisers well as they are courageous and very well-intentioned people.”


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