Mud begins to fly in race to become Bristol's elected mayor
THE mud has begun to fly in the race to become Bristol's first elected mayor.
Architect George Ferguson has been accused of political expediency for withdrawing his membership from the Liberal Democrat party shortly before announcing he would stand as an independent candidate.
But Mr Ferguson, who launched his election campaign earlier this week, retorted by saying it was precisely this type of party politics which had done so much damage to the city for too many years.
Darren Lewis, chairman of Bristol Labour Party, said: "To me and a lot of others, it seems the only reason he chose to resign was due to political expediency. He stayed with the Liberal Democrat party when they were riding high in the polls, he stayed with them through thick and thin – until, in fact, he decided to stand for public office."
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Mr Lewis said Mr Ferguson did not resign over the axing of the Child Trust Fund, tuition fees, the future of the NHS or local government cuts.
"The only reason that made him resign was simply because he knew the Liberal Democrats are not going to win this election."
Mr Ferguson, 65, who was the city's first Liberal councillor in the 1970s and stool as a Liberal candidate in two general elections in the 1980s, said he has not been actively engaged in party politics for 25 years.
He said: "Everyone knows that I am my own person. I'm a member of lots of things but I'm as independent as they come. These remarks are typical example of playing the party game and I am not prepared to do that."