Former Welsh Lib Dem leader ‘expelled’ for advising Tories on how to beat the party
A former leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has been expelled from the party for advising the Tories on how to beat them, it has been reported.
Lembit Öpik, who used to be the MP for Montgomeryshire, upset his former colleagues when he claimed the party had become a “become a parody of itself” and suggested that there is “currently no vaccine against stupidity”.
In the run up to the Senedd election, he spoke at a ‘How to Stop the Lib Dems with Lembit Öpik’ event organised by the Conservative Party.
He was introduced by former Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, Conservative Member of Parliament for Epsom and Ewell.
His appearance at the event has led to him being booted out, according to a source in Lib Dem HQ that spoke to The Sunday Times.
In response to the news, the paper’s Atticus column said: “Not that anybody needs too much help nowadays.”
The Liberal Democrats failed to win the seat in Montgomeryshire, which remained in the hands of the Tories. The party also failed to hang on to its only constituency seat in Brecon and Radnorshire, where it also lost out to the Conservatives.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds picked up the party’s only seat at the election, which was on the mid and west Wales regional list.
Öpik, who led the party in Wales between 2001 and 2007 and was once touted as a Lib Dem leadership contender, held one of the safest seats in the country, before he was defeated by Conservative former Assembly Member Glyn Davies at the 2010 General Election.
He had relationships with weather presenter Siân Lloyd as well as Gabriela Irimia of pop music double-act The Cheeky Girls.
In the promo piece for the event, he is quoted as saying: “The party has become a parody of itself,” he says, “and these days the idea of them occupying any position of strategic power should be a source of alarm for those who believe in personal freedom and lament the Lib Dems’ – it must be said ironic – disregard for personal liberty.”
“I gravitate towards common sense and liberty,’ says Lembit Öpik. “Sadly, If the modern day Lib Dem party has its way, there’ll be a deficit of both in Councils, constituencies and the Commons.
“I’m keen to share my thoughts on a cure for this malaise, as there’s currently no vaccine against stupidity.”
Alison Alexander, the party’s Senedd candidate in Montgomeryshire for the election, responded at the time by saying that she did not “recognise the party he criticises” and claimed people who have “fond memories of the good Liberal” would find his comments very sad.