May 19 2011 By Ross Crawford
THESE have been trying times for Solihull’s Liberal Democrats.
In the space of just 12 months they have gone from the triumph of retaining Lorely Burt’s hotly contested parliamentary seat and gaining control of Solihull Council in a coalition with Labour to a series a reverses that ended in them losing four seats in the local elections.
Along the way they have lost councillor Simon Slater to Labour - four months after he was elected, and former councillor Bryn Tudor who first went independent before being barred for failing to attend council meetings.
They then just managed to hang on to Honor Cox’s key Olton seat in a by-election.
To cap it all this week independent Liberal Democrat Howard Allen - a man albeit outside the party machinery - crossed the floor to join Solihull’s Green Party in the council chamber.
The Conservatives meanwhile have done brilliantly well and are to be congratulated on their success.
However any note of triumphalism should be tempered - the borough council needs an effective opposition and so do the people of Solihull.
With Labour losing two seats in the local elections, that burden will largely fall once again on the Lib Dems.
They need to re-group and re-build - and do so quickly.