Tonbridge & Malling Tory councillor tells voters to support opposition parties

MOVING ON: Ben Walker is relocating to London

Tonbridge & Malling Tory councillor tells voters to support opposition parties

by Andy Tong | 18th April 2019

A DISAFFECTED Conservative councillor in Tonbridge & Malling has called on voters to back other parties at the local elections on May 2.

Ben Walker has represented Ditton ward in the north of the borough for the last four years.

He was elected at the age of 20, making him the youngest ever councillor to serve on Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council.

He is standing down from the post because he is moving to London, but before he left he launched a virulent attack on councils like TMBC where the vast majority of representatives are from a single party.

On his twitter account @BenJamminWalker he said: “One-party dominated councils are a major cause for concern.

'Councils of weak electoral accountability are vulnerable to corruption, complacency, autocracy, a lack of scrutiny, mismanagement of public funds & lower price savings'

“Councils of weak electoral accountability are vulnerable to corruption, complacency, autocracy, a lack of scrutiny, mismanagement of public funds & lower price savings.

“Vote for Opposition in the #LocalElections2019.”

The current council consists of 48 Conservatives, four Liberal Democrats and two independent members.

All councillors in Tonbridge itself are Tories, with the Lib Dems holding seats in Larkfield and East Malling, while the independents represent Borough Green and Long Mill.

Among the 129 candidates this time, there are 52 Tories, 27 Liberal Democrats, 22 Labour, 14 Greens, 10 independents and four from Ukip.

Ten of the Greens are standing in Tonbridge, which also has 15 Conservatives, eight Lib Dems, seven from Labour, two from UKIP and one independent in Trench ward.

On the same day Cllr Walker also called on party members not to vote for the Conservatives in the European elections at the end of next month.

A supporter of Brexit, he said Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal with the EU was turning Tory voters away ‘in droves’.

He tweeted: “If the UK takes part in European Elections, the Conservatives will face electoral annihilation.”

Cllr Walker achieved 36 per cent of the vote in Ditton in 2015, in what he described as ‘previously a Liberal Democrat stronghold’.

His running mate Tom Cannon collected 34 per cent to give the Tories 70 per cent of the vote.

The 24-year-old attended Bennett Memorial School in Tunbridge Wells and studied politics and geography at the University of Leeds.

He spent a year working for the Conservative Party in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

While he was there, he was part of the selection process to choose a new candidate after former Conservative Pary leader William Hague stood down as MP for Richmond.

He works for WH Ireland, an investment management company, as a graduate trainee in London.

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