Labour-Lib Dem row 'like a scene from The Thick of It'
The gloves are off in the row between Newbury Labour member Richard Garvie (pictured) and the West Berkshire Liberal Democrats following the release of email conversations between himself and leader of the elected opposition Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem, Thatcham West).
In the emails Mr Garvie appeared to accept a move to the party in February following talks, before later changing his mind.
Last week the Newbury Weekly News revealed that clandestine meetings had taken place over several months, however Mr Brooks said this week the plan was to offer Mr Garvie the chance to win a seat on the district council, not to oust former MP David Rendel as the local candidate.
“We didn’t ever offer him the PPC (Prospective Parlimentary Candidate position). He wouldn’t have been eligible, and it was never discussed. We did discuss a council seat, not the full one,” Mr Brooks said.
“He is a busted flush and a complete fantasist.
“We had discussions from November to February, and he was interested to the point he said ‘yes’. He’s now blown his cover trying to big up ‘brand Garvie’.
“There is a process to go through and everyone in the party gets a vote, so we couldn’t offer him the seat.
“David was aware of conversations with Richard from the beginning and if it was some sort of conspiracy to usurp David why on earth would we have had David attend the meeting on 26th February at my house?"
Mr Garvie, far from a shrinking violet, came out fighting and said an expletive-laden dressing down issued to him by Mr Brooks following the publication of last week’s NWN story was more suited to Westminister TV satire ‘The Thick Of It” than local politics.
“It's not my fault that this story has created such a fuss within their party, but attempting to re-write history in last week’s paper isn't going to cut it with their party members,” he said.
“The Liberal Democrat members in Newbury will want to know why senior members of their party did the dirty on David Rendel, I am just a very small part of this story."
Mr Garvie said the reason he did not join the party was down to the ongoing row of homes being built on Sandelford Park, and how despite their opposing stance now the idea was first suggested by the Liberal Democrats more than 10 years ago while the party was in power.
Although Mr Garvie has announced that he wishes to stand for Labour in the 2015 general election, he said is far from certain that he will be selected by his party.