Scottish Conservative councillor Mark McGeever has today announced his decision to defect to the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
Mr McGeever has been councillor for Hamilton West & Earnock since May 2017 as well as the Scottish Conservative general election candidate for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow in 2017.
Councillor McGeever said:
“When I joined the Conservatives under David Cameron, the party had made clear its intent to govern from the centre of British politics. It is a matter of deep regret that over recent years this broad outlook has given way to a much narrower and more ideological focus as the party has focused on appeasing the insatiable demands of the party's rightmost fringe.
“The elevation of Mr Johnson to the Conservative leadership was an open declaration the party now has little regard for centrist views. His use of racist, Islamophobic, misogynistic and homophobic language is deeply concerning. He has failed to stand up for a British diplomat subject to abuse from President Trump and refused to answer basic questions on the crisis facing the UK.
“I have not changed my principles since being elected to South Lanarkshire Council and standing in the last general election, but the party for which I stood has significantly changed its nature. It would be disingenuous for me to pretend my views still have a place within it.
“For these reasons I am glad to have joined the Liberal Democrats. As a member of that progressive party I will continue to represent my constituents to the very best of my ability, working to protect public services, and to deliver responsive and responsible local government for everyone in South Lanarkshire.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:
“Mark has taken a brave decision to step away from a party which he feels no longer represents him or those like him.
“His well put analysis of the Conservative Party’s drift to the right will be shared by many moderate Conservative members and supporters.
“Boris Johnson signalled a further shift to the right with the appointment of his cabinet and the culling of moderate ministers.
“In contrast, Jo Swinson’s open, progressive and moderate leadership will be attractive to more people like Mark.
“I want each and every person across Scotland who wants to stop Brexit and wants a moderate and open leadership to join the Liberal Democrats and help us demand better for our country.”