The Bath Conservative Association has issued an open letter to residents across Bath following their significant defeat in the local elections held last Thursday, 2nd May 2019.
The letter describes how the local party “were facing overwhelming forces and a very difficult national political environment”, which they believe caused many voters to “feel frustrated”.
Speaking after the election results were revealed, former leader of B&NES Council Tim Warren admitted that his party had taken a hammering and said it would not recover until the national government sorted itself out.
As well as outlining their work for the area over the past few years, including balancing the budget, and their efforts to increase recycling and boost housing, the letter also highlights the worry that local Conservatives have regarding the future leadership of Bath & North East Somerset Council by the Liberal Democrats, who took control with 37 seats, compared to the 11 won by Tory councillors.
The full open letter reads:
“Fellow Bath Residents:
First, we would like to thank the thousands of you who voted on 2 May for our candidates, local men and women, of varied backgrounds, young and old, who stepped up to offer themselves as voluntary representatives to help guide how our City is run. Some had considerable political experience, and have already given a lot to our City; some were entering the world of politics for the first time. All approached this election with good intentions and a desire and willingness to serve.
Bath voters chose not to re-elect any Conservatives on Thursday. As democrats, we of course accept the outcome of that vote. We recognise that despite campaigning positively on local issues, we were facing overwhelming forces and a very difficult national political environment, which are causing many voters to feel frustrated. We wish Bath Conservatives had the power to address these frustrations: sadly, we don’t. We hope that soon, one way or the other, these national issues will be settled, and local politics can return to local issues and local decisions.
With our success on balancing the budget, innovating services like recycling, and housing, and our plans to bring in cleaner air and improved transport and traffic management, we believe we have left a better Bath than the one we inherited from the Liberal Democrats in 2015. There continue to be major challenges for our City: these are now for others to address.
We are very sad not to have the chance to be directly involved in moving our City forwards. That responsibility now sits, for the next four years, entirely in the hands of the Liberal Democrats, since there are no Conservative Councillors in Bath. We love our City too much not to wish the new leadership well, even as we worry about what they will do, and how they will do it.
For the next four years, Bath Conservatives will continue to serve our City, but outside the Council chamber. When the Liberal Democrats take decisions with which we agree, we will support them; when they take decisions we believe will not help our City, and do not put residents first, we will oppose them as vigorously as we are able.
Bath is a special place, which should and must be preserved, protected, and improved. As Conservatives, we will continue to play our part in building an even better Bath for all.
Bath Conservative Association”
Following last week’s elections, Bath & North East Somerset Council is now made up of 37 Liberal Democrat councillors, 11 Conservative councillors, 6 independents and 5 Labour councillors.