Rift in LibDems

DIVISION in the Wealden constituency Liberal Democrat party widened this week following the expulsion of two leading members.

Two district councillors from Hailsham quit the LibDem group last week, accusing the party's executive of pursuing a 'personal and vindictive' campaign against two former members.

It emerged last week that the highly prominent Hailsham councillors Nick and Madeline Ellwood were kicked out of the LibDems, but the reasons for the move remain a mystery.

Since then, there have been signs of turmoil in the party, with district and town councillors John Glover and Ian Haffenden resigning from the LibDem group on Friday and Wealden LibDem group leader Cllr Allan Thurley standing down from his post, saying he is seeking to join another constituency party. Another Hailsham town councillor, Mike Lewis, has resigned from the party in sympathy with the Ellwoods.

However, the LibDem executive has remained resolutely silent about the affair, with Wealden constituency chairman Laura Murphy refusing to comment for a second week running.