Paul Ray

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A Liberal Democrat member who has been campaigning for the party has claimed they have no chance of success in Lichfield and Burntwood on May 7. Ian Hetherington, who has lived in the city for 35 years, has been out delivering party leaflets across the city, but claims it’s impossible to get their message across to voters. And he believes the Liberal Democrat parliamentary, city and district candidate Paul Ray should make his mind up about which election he wants to fight.
Paul Ray
He said: “Paul Ray is standing for everything, which I think is wrong – he should just focus on fighting either the parliamentary or local elections, not all three. “Paul is a nice guy, but in my opinion sometimes you can be too nice. “I’ve lived in Lichfield for 35 years and this is a staunch Conservative area, so campaigning here is a waste of time because we won’t get in on May 7.
Ian Hetherington delivering Liberal Democrat leaflets. Pic: Lewis Deakin
“Sometimes trying to get the Liberal message across is like banging your head against a brick wall. We only have two councillors, which makes it very difficult for us to be able to do anything.” Mr Ray denied that the Lib Dems were failing to convince local voters. He said: “We are having a great campaign here in Lichfield and Burntwood and when we get our message across we are winning loads of support. “Ian has not been actively involved in our local campaign meetings and planning here in Lichfield and Burntwood, but he was out campaigning with us on Saturday morning. “He was interviewed by LichfieldLive early on in the morning and by the end of the morning, having seen me and the local Lib Dem team in action and the response on the doorstep, he’s fully on board with the Lib Dems here in Lichfield and Burntwood.” But when LichfieldLive joined Mr Hetherington as he canvassed on behalf of the Lib Dems, he admitted that he was so frustrated with his party that he intended to vote for Labour’s parliamentary candidate Chris Worsey on May 7. He also revealed that he is considering leaving the Lib Dems after admitting that leader Nick Clegg had come across as “weak” during the last five years of coalition government. He said: “I considered cancelling my membership this year, but I was just too late to do so. “I’ve been a Liberal Democrat for about 20 years – I actually stood for council seven or eight years ago in Curborough ward and lost by only 200 votes. I’m in two minds as to what to do about my membership – if I do cancel it probably won’t be until next year. “I’m going to vote tactically on May 7, that means I will back Labour in the parliamentary elections to try to stop Conservative Michael Fabricant from being re-elected – but I will probably vote for the Liberal Democrats in local elections. “In my opinion Nick Clegg hasn’t helped the party – he has come across as very weak over the past five years. “I’m actually only delivering leaflets for the Liberal Democrats as a favour to Chadsmead district and city councillor Marion Bland.” But Cllr Bland disagreed with Mr Hetherington’s comments’, claiming the party will surprise everyone on May 7. She said: “In 2012 I won the city by-election here in Chadsmead for the Liberal Democrats with 36 per cent of the vote. In my opinion that shows that we will be the comeback kids at this election.” Editor’s note: Since speaking to LichfieldLive while out campaigning for the Liberal Democrats, Mr Hetherington has sent an update on his position. He said:
 “I called it wrong when I was interviewed. Having seen the Lib Dem team in action and the response they are getting there is no doubt about whom I’m voting for. I’m voting Lib Dem and for Paul Ray. He’s a brilliant candidate.”
The candidates standing in the Lichfield constituency for the parliamentary elections are:
  • Andy Bennetts – Class War
  • Michael Fabricant – Conservatives
  • Robert Pass – Green Party
  • John Rackham – UKIP
  • Paul Ray – Lib Dem
  • Chris Worsey – Labour

Lewis Deakin

NCTJ-trained reporter with experience in a wide variety of journalism settings.

4 replies on “Liberal Democrat campaigner criticises party’s Lichfield candidate”

  1. Hilarious.

    The update comment at the end just makes matters worse for the LibDems, what a shambles.

    Anyone thinking of voting LibDem should go out and vote for Rob Pass of the Greens or Andy Bennetts of Class War. They have both fought passionate and frequently entertaining campaigns and deserve to retain their deposits in my view.

  2. You’ve got to respect a chap with firm beliefs who isn’t afraid to voice his opinion and who will be resolute and not waiver in the slightest.
    This kind of sums up the Lib Dems in a nutshell.
    One could start to feel incredibly sorry for Mr Ray, but one can’t be bothered.

  3. During the Cathedral hustings when Paul Ray gave an impassioned argument in favour of HS2 the thought crossed my mind that the Liberal Democrats are trying to engineer their own wipe out in Lichfield. This seems to confirm it. The Labour candidate, Chris Worsey must be hopeful of hoovering up some disaffected Liberal votes.

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