Allen Lear to run for Lib Dems in Southborough by election


Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democrats are pleased to announce that Allen Lear will be standing as our candidate in the Southborough & High Brooms by-election on 7th September.

Allen was born and grew up in Nottingham and became a small business operator straight out of college when his family took over a public house. He has since run three Public houses and worked in the licensing trade for 10 years. 

After leaving the hospitality industry, Allen made a success of a petrol station franchise. When it was sold, he moved on to work at a woodland site which provided outdoor activities and film location settings. He now runs a small, local childcare business.

Allen has identified the main problems with the Southborough Hub as a lack of planned affordable and social housing as well as traffic issues around the Yew Tree Road area. If elected, Allen plans to work with other Councillors to hold the stakeholders to account and to ensure that the Hub is fit for purpose.

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Thanks To Everyone Who Voted Liberal Democrat

Thanks to everyone who voted Liberal Democrat in the Kent County Council and General Election! Our candidates - Rachel Sadler, Marguerita Morton, Andrew Hickey, Allen Lear, Clare Bishop, Alan Bullion and Tom Deacon - are grateful for your support. We gained votes in both the County and General Elections and are gearing up for the borough elections next year.

If you would like to join as a member or support us in other ways, please go to the Get Involved section of the website and, well, get involved. 

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Rachel Sadler Wants to Change Britain's Future

Nick Clegg has made a hard-hitting speech in London accusing Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn of a “pact of silence” on Brexit.

Rachel believes it is still possible to stop a self-destructive Brexit that would damage Britain's economy and security, and that the country needs Liberal Democrat MPs who will fight to stay in the single market and give people the chance to vote on the final deal.


Clegg: We can still stop a self-destructive Brexit 


On May and Corbyn colluding over Brexit

“There has been a pact of silence on Brexit between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. It is one of the most cyniaacal acts of political collusion between the two larger parties in a generation
“Strip away the contrast in tone and the differences in language and a striking reality emerges: both the Conservative and Labour positions on Brexit are now more or less identical.
“Pull Britain out of the Customs Union and the Single Market. Abruptly bring an end to freedom of movement. Deny the people any chance to decide on the final deal. They are in total agreement.”
On the Brexit squeeze
“With average earnings growth failing to keep up with prices, consumers are already beginning to feel the Brexit squeeze.
“Price rises have hit energy bills, petrol, and clothes. It's enough to make anyone need a fortifying glass of wine - but last week it was reported that the average price of a bottle of wine has hit its highest price ever.
On the risk of no deal
“No deal would, according to the Treasury, mean a loss of £45bn a year. To put this in perspective, £45bn is more money than the entire schools budget for England. To plug a gap like that in the public finances you would either need to raise the basic rate of income tax by 10 pence in the pound, or to make cuts to public services and the salaries of those who work for them on an unimaginable scale.
“This is what Theresa May means when she casually threatens to walk away from the negotiating table. No deal isn’t a cuddly alternative to a poor deal. It’s far worse. It’s a disaster for Britain."
On the cost of leaving single market
“The Treasury figures are an indictment of the central objective of Theresa May’s negotiating strategy - to walk away from Margaret Thatcher’s Single Market.

"This decision alone carries a long-term price tag of £16bn a year. For that money, you could give every hospital in the UK a £12m cash injection, or provide the average school with an extra half a million pounds."
On Theresa May
“Negotiating Brexit is going be a tightrope act. It requires subtlety, creativity and the ability to win friends. Above all, it requires sure-footedness to keep on top of dozens of simultaneous interlocking negotiations.
“Instead, we are being asked to elect a leader who is unsteady in the limelight, incapable of straight talking, and prone to chaotic u-turns.”
On security
“How will Britain be kept safe after Brexit? Theresa May has vowed to pull Britain out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, a decision which means we would no longer have access to vital EU-wide databases of criminal activity.

"Just last year, a not-so-distant era when Theresa May made perfectly rational arguments against leaving Europe, she warned that being in the UK makes us “more secure from crime and terrorism”.
“So where are the contingency plans when our police forces find themselves unable to check the databases of 28 EU countries at the touch of a button? If only she would deign to tell us then maybe we could judge.”
Changing course on Brexit
“While Britain may stand on the brink of a self-destructive Brexit, we can stop it happening. There is a way to change course.
“What this country needs are MPs who are prepared to hold this government to account, fight every step of the way to keep Britain in the Single Market and at the end of the process, offer you a chance to vote on the final deal.
“I have no intention of giving up, and neither do the Liberal Democrats. Because only the Liberal Democrats will provide the opposition to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn that this country so desperately needs.”

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Lib Dems announce plans to address housing shortage in Tunbridge Wells

The Liberal Democrats have announced plans to address the housing shortage in Tunbridge Wells and build more affordable homes.

There are currently 988 families in Tunbridge Wells on a waiting list for council homes, down from 1,108 last year.

In addition, official figures show 376 homes in Tunbridge Wells have been empty for over six months.

The Liberal Democrats would introduce a legal requirement for smaller housing developments to include affordable homes, make it easier for local authorities and housing associations to borrow money and set up a new government-backed Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank.

The party would allow local authorities to hike up council tax on empty homes by up to 200%, including second homes. Local authorities could also choose to impose penalties on developers who leave plots of land empty for over 3 years, to tackle so-called land-banking.

Rachel Sadler, Parliamentary Candidate for Tunbridge Wells commented:

“Hundreds of families in Tunbridge Wells are struggling to find a decent and affordable place to call home.

“Many young people in particular are finding it virtually impossible to get on the housing ladder.

“At the same time, homes are sitting empty and plots of land bought by developers are not being used.

“The market is broken and has failed to deliver. That is why we are setting out radical plans to fix the housing crisis.

"A Conservative landslide would allow the government to take people for granted, meaning years more soaring rents and failure to build enough affordable housing.

"A better future is available. Have hope, vote Liberal Democrat and we can change Britain's future and build the affordable homes Tunbridge Wells needs."


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Lib Dems announce £30 million of funding for health in Tunbridge Wells

The Liberal Democrats have today announced that they will add another £1 billion for mental ill health care through putting a penny on income tax. This could equate to approximately £30 million in additional NHS funding in Tunbridge Wells (West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group) and £52.4 million in additional social care  funding in Kent.  The Liberal Democrats will ring fence £7.5 million of the funding to tackle the historic injustice faced by people with mental ill health.

Last weekend, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron and Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb unveiled a Five Point NHS and Care Recovery Plan to increase funding for health and social care services, including a penny on income tax to provide a £6 billion funding boost.
Today the Liberal Democrats announced that they will spend approximately £7.5 million of this extra money would be ring-fenced as dedicated funding for mental health services in West Kent.

This would help to deliver on 12 key priorities, including improving waiting time standards for mental health care on the NHS and providing support for his pregnant women and young people suffering from mental health problems.

The Liberal Democrats will also set out to end the inappropriate use of force against people with mental ill health, end out of area placements for mental health patients and prioritise national action to reduce the number of suicides.

Commenting on the plan, Rachel Sadler, parliamentary candidate, said:
“The Liberal Democrats  pledge to spend £7.5 million in West Kent is important as it demonstrates our commitment to ending the historic injustice against people with mental ill health. 
"Health, particularly mental health is a key issue on the doorstep. People want action, not just words and the Liberal Democrats neither Labour nor the Conservatives have outlined how they will fund mental health services. .

"We will invest in improving waiting time standards for mental health care in West Kent, end the scandalous use of force against people with mental ill health and prioritise national action to dramatically reduce the number of people who take their own lives.
“The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservatives, and the only party fighting for genuine equality for those who suffer from mental ill health.”

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Lib Dems will invest £13,508,647 to protect school funding in Kent

The Liberal Democrats have announced they will invest £13,508,647 more in schools and colleges in Kent over the next parliament.

The funding for Kent would reverse cuts to frontline school and college budgets, protect per pupil funding in real terms and ensure no school loses out from changes to school funding proposed by the Tories.

£9,939,047 of the funding would be spent on protecting the Pupil Premium, introduced by the Liberal Democrats to help the most disadvantaged children.

Rachel Sadler, Tunbridge Wells Lib Dem parliamentary candidate, said:
"Children in Tunbridge Wells are being taught in overcrowded classes by overworked teachers - but Theresa May doesn't care.

"Under the Conservatives, funding per pupil is set to see the biggest cuts in a generation, while billions of pounds are being spent on divisive plans to expand grammars and free schools.

"This extra £13,508,647 of funding would ensure no school and no child loses out.

"We will reverse crippling Conservative cuts to school budgets and invest to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed."

Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:

"A landslide for the Conservatives would allow Theresa May to take parents across the country for granted and cut our schools to the bone.

"Only Rachel Sadler and the Liberal Democrats can provide the strong opposition Britain needs to stand up for Tunbridge Wells.

"Vote for the Liberal Democrats and you can change Britain’s future."

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Rachel Sadler and Lib Dems Commit to Triple Lock on Pensions

10,162 pensioners living in Tunbridge Wells will receive at least an extra £772 per year under Liberal Democrat manifesto plans to protect the ‘triple lock’ for state pensions.
Thanks to the triple lock guarantee, secured by the Liberal Democrats when they were in government, the basic state pension has risen in each year by whichever is the higher of earnings, prices or a rate of 2.5%. However, the Conservatives have refused to guarantee whether the triple lock will continue, raising fears it could be scrapped. The Liberal Democrats have committed today to keeping the triple lock, meaning the state pension would be worth at least £137.15 a week by 2021, up from £122.30 in 2017, or an extra £772 a year. This would be paid for in part by restricting perks such as the winter fuel allowance so they are no longer paid to the wealthiest pensioners.
The parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Tunbridge Wells, Rachel Sadler said: “ We intend to finance the triple lock by restricting the winter fuel allowance for the wealthiest pensioners, to ensure that people get the help that they need."
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Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Rachel Sadler has marked Europe Day today by calling on voters in Tunbridge Wells to support the Lib Dems in standing up to Theresa May's plans for a hard, destructive Brexit. 

Rachel said:

"On Europe Day it is important to remember that the EU was created to end centuries of war in Europe and bring prosperity to all European countries. 

"It is clear that Theresa May is willing to scrap a free trade deal with the rest of Europe in order to pander to UKIP and the far-right of her own party. 

"Nobody knows what Brexit will look like. The choices Theresa May will make will affect Tunbridge Wells and our country for decades – that’s your job, your weekly shop, your environment, your safety, where you can travel to and where you can live. 

"If you want a strong opposition in Tunbridge Wells fighting for an open, tolerant and united Britain, this is your chance. Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats can change Britain’s future."

Responding to comments made by Jeremy Corbyn that Brexit had been "settled", leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron said: 

"Corbyn made his party vote in Parliament with the Conservatives on Brexit, and now he is joining Theresa May in denying the British people a final say on the Brexit deal. 
"Be in no doubt, if you are worried about Theresa May’s plans for a hard, destructive Brexit, and if you do not want to see our country ripped from the Single Market with the futures of millions of EU citizens put at risk, the Lib Dems are the only party which is fighting for you."

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Local elections Thursday 4th May; Lib Dem membership soars, general election update; high court ruling on air pollution…

County Council elections, Thursday 4th May
Elections are won and lost because of people’s perceptions of who will win and who will lose. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! I would urge you to find the time to vote on Thursday. Your vote really does matter.

I am standing as the Lib Dem candidate in Tunbridge Wells North. I live in Tunbridge Wells and I love my town. The Lib Dems are fighting the election on collapse of local services, transparency on the local council, problems with social adult care and children's services and the right of people to plan their own community. If you vote for me I will fight for…

1. Investment in highways, pavements, potholes and road safety

2. Affordable and sustainable homes with the right infrastructure

3. Cleaner environment through better cycling provisions and a low emission zone on the A26

4. Increasing the social care budget by bringing forward the £700m allocated for 2019

See my video here. To find out where your nearest polling station is please see here.

Local Lib Dem membership soars to 312  in total.  Most of these have joined us since May 2016 and more recently since the Referendum result and the declaration of the general election. See our parliamentary candidates interview here.

General Election Update 

High Court rules against government in air pollution debate

The government has been ordered to publish tough new plans to tackle air pollution after the high court rejected attempts by ministers to keep the policy under wraps until after the general election. Tunbridge Wells is greatly affected by air pollution because of traffic congestion. I am passionate about introducing clean air zones, in particular, St. John's Road and London Road, and welcome this ruling.

Read the full article here:


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Speech from Rachel Sadler, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate

The Tunbridge Wells Liberal Democrats recently held a members' event at the George in Tunbridge Wells on April 26th where Rachel Sadler spoke. Here is the content of her speech:
"Hello everybody, it's lovely to see you tonight. 
I'm Rachel Sadler: your Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate. 
I'm excited about this opportunity, and am raring to go!
This is a wonderful chance to defeat the toxic Tories and prevent a hard Brexit, which nobody voted for. 
Greg Clark is clearly out of touch: he turned his back on Tunbridge Wells by triggering Article 50 when we, the people, had voted definitively to remain. 
This is why this election is a golden opportunity for Lib Dems to make an impact and change the course of British life for the better.
What will we do? We'll show that Britain can only remain open, tolerant and united under a Lib Dem government. We'll achieve this via a referendum on the terms of Brexit, with an option to remain in the EU, to let the people decide how we should proceed.
We've already done wonders locally- under our watch the old ABC cinema site has been demolished, and we've convinced the complacent TWBC to introduce glass recycling in principle in 2019.

These are just two examples- when we pool our powers, we are fantastic! 

Labour can't win in Tunbridge Wells- we are the only opposition to Conservative cronyism- people who seek to force us into chaos!

We can make a difference!

We can defeat the Tories!

We can save Britain from dropping into Brexit oblivion!"

For more information about Rachel, see here. See Rachel speak here. If you would like to support the local Liberal Democrats, please contact Rachel on 


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