Diane quits in disgust

DIANE Park has quit as Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Halifax – two years to the day since she was appointed.

She will continue as a councillor for Elland but has signalled her intention to join the independent group on Calderdale Council.

She told the Courier: "I am shocked and appalled by the scandal that has befallen the House of Commons and believe I can no longer be part of this form of false democracy.

"When I took on the role of Parliamentary candidate, I did it from the heart, which is now telling me I no longer wish to be part of this discredited party political system."

Councillor Park, who lives in Bryan Road, Elland, joined the Liberal Democrats six years ago, became a councillor in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007. She is due for re-election again in 2011.

She said: "I still have a huge amount to offer the people of Elland and Calderdale and, after much soul-searching, I have decided to become an independent.

"That way, I will have no constraints on what I say and can concentrate on serving the electors, instead of playing politics in the town hall," she said.

The leader of Calderdale Council's Liberal Democrat group, Janet Battye (Calder) said the announcement had come as a complete surprise.

"It is really disappointing after all that the local party and local people have invested in her that she feels she wants to leave us and join another political group.

"If she still wants to serve the people of Elland, she should resign her seat and stand as an independent."

Earlier this year, Coun Keith Watson (Greetland and Stainland) quit the Liberal Democrats and joined the Conser-vatives.

The leader of the council's independent group, Colin Stout (Brighouse) said the Parliamentary expenses scandal was encouraging people to look at the individuals behind the party political banners.

He said: "It is a big step for a politician to make a decision like this but, providing they represent the people and act on their behalf, they have nothing to fear."

Lord Shutt of Greetland (Lib-Dem) said he was sad.

"She is someone with great enthusiasm and I am surprised she hasn't wanted to see it through."

The process of selecting a candidate will now have to begin again.