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Public outcry forced resignation of Arizona councillor

PUBLISHED: 11:21 22 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:24 07 September 2010

IT WAS inevitable that the hue and cry resulting from our cowboy councillor revelations last week would result in the resignation of Philip Thompson. It is unfortunate however that he tried to convince some media outlets that he had always intended to g

IT WAS inevitable that the hue and cry resulting from our 'cowboy councillor' revelations last week would result in the resignation of Philip Thompson. It is unfortunate however that he tried to convince some media outlets that he had always intended to give up his role, once settled into the university routine in Arizona.

That hadn't been the case when our reporter spoke to him in Tucson last week, nor was it the opinion of a quorum of Lib Dem representatives (including their Camden Council leader) who had believed it possible for him to continue.

Political opponents are making capital from the situation, but amid the farce there is a serious lesson for the Lib Dems to learn. While attracting a disproportionately high number of fresh-faced 'rookies' to active politics is a good thing, more seasoned Lib Dems do need to keep a firm grip on the activities of some of the enthusiastic but inexperienced newcomers coming into their ranks.

In recent years, and especially at local council level, many Lib Dem candidates have stood for office, more in hope than expectation, only to find that they had been elected with little idea of what being a councillor actually involves.The example of Cllr Thompson actually believing for a moment that he could serve his constituents from 5,500 miles away is an extreme example, but it betrays a certain political naivety and underlines the 'strength in depth' dilemma which affects the party at every level.

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