Jeremy Corbyn can't lead his party, let alone a country


Jeremy Corbyn is never going to be Prime Minister because he can't even lead his own party, the Liberal Democrats have said.

Responding to Jeremy Corbyn's speech today, Liberal Democrat Shadow First Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael said: “Jeremy Corbyn is never going to be Prime Minister. He can’t lead his own party, let alone our country. The more people see him, the less they want to vote for him.

"That is not just my view. It is the view of the 172 Labour MPs who just last year said they had no confidence in his leadership.

“That’s why senior Labour figures such as Bob Marshall-Andrews are defecting to the Liberal Democrats.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has waved the white flag on Brexit, is failing as an opposition and has given Theresa May a blank cheque to pursue a divisive Hard Brexit. They are hopelessly divided, have no plan for the economy and are clearly unfit for government.

“This is your chance to change the direction of our country. If you want to avoid a disastrous Hard Brexit, if you want to keep Britain in the Single Market, if you want Britain to have a decent opposition – vote Liberal Democrat.

“The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government and the only party fighting for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united."

Liberal Democrats double size of membership since 2015 general election In the short time since the snap General Election was announced the Liberal Democrats have gained over 2,500 new members

The Liberal Democrat General Election campaign has got off to a flying start as new members have seen the party double in size since May 2015.

In the short time since the snap General Election was announced the Liberal Democrats have gained over 2,500 new members.

Commenting on the surge Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron said: “This election is a chance to change the direction of our country and thousands are joining our fight.

“If you want to avoid a disastrous Hard Brexit. If you want to keep Britain in the Single Market. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance.

Join the Liberal Democrats

"Thousands of people up and down the country are joining the Liberal Democrats so that we can send a message to Theresa May and the Conservative Brexit Government that we do not want a hard Brexit.

“In this General Election it is clear that only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority.”

Vote Liberal Democrat in the General Election to stop a hard Brexit Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron responds to snap general election announcement


If you want to avoid a disastrous Hard Brexit. If you want to keep Britain in the Single Market. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance.

What this means for Britain

Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority.

Labour won’t win any seats off the Conservatives.

The SNP could only possibly win one seat off the Conservatives.

But there are dozens of Conservative seats where the Lib Dems are the challengers. The only way to stop Theresa May winning a majority is by the Lib Dems winning in those seats.

The only way to prevent a Conservative majority is by voting Liberal Democrat.

The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government and the only party fighting for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael explains what this means for Britain:

How you can help

If you want to change the direction of your country, join the Liberal Democrats today.

More than 500 people joined the party in the 20 minutes after Theresa May announced the snap election. This is your chance to do the same.

Join the Liberal Democrats

You can also join the Liberal Democrats' growing army of volunteers. Whether you can help out for several weeks, or just a few hours, we need you!

Whether you prefer to deliver leaflets, talk to voters on the phone or help out with office admin, your help will make a huge difference.

And if you've never volunteered before, you're not alone. 75% of people who have joined our national volunteer team are new!


Elections run on money - and unlike Labour, we aren't funded by the Trade Unions and unlike the Tories we aren't funded by big business. We rely on donations from ordinary people, like you. So please, donate today and help us elect more Liberal Democrat MPs and change the direction of our country:


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Aylesford Newsprint Latest

Cllr Trudy Dean writes; Many people are concerned about the amount of traffic which might come from the Aylesford Newsprint site if it is redeveloped for modern businesses which may employ many more people and generate more traffic than the former highly automated paper mill. One possible solution being suggested is a left in - left out entrance from and exit to M20 direct from the site. 

It is very unclear what the effect of this might be. For instance, it might encourage rat running by traffic avoiding the A20 or Maidstone traffic jams. But in order for Highways England to even think about this, KCC as Highways Authority needed to push them into exploring the option. 

I asked a formal question at County Council (a bit like PM questions) to encourage them to do so. KCC confirmed that it is pressing Highways England to explore this option. However, they got the reply that Highways England are opposed to the idea. They say it does not meet their safety guidance on the distance between junctions to allow for weaving traffic. They also say that it would mess up their plans for a smart motorway operation, due to open next year, between junctions 3 and 5 at Aylesford. This is where variable speed limits are used to increase the capacity of the motorway and traffic can be instructed to use the hard shoulder. 

I pointed out that TMBC will not oppose the application on highway grounds unless they get a clear statement of opposition from KCC Highways as well. The Cabinet Member replied that he ‘could not interfere with the professional judgement of officers’. 



Cllr Richard Selkirk has asked the Borough Council to take action on the pigeon flock which is making a mess of the pavement by the zebra crossing each day. We suspect they have been moved on by the restoration work on Arundel House. He has also questioned why the scaffolding is still in position, inconveniencing pedestrians when no work appears to be going on. 


Cllr Trudy Dean, County Councillor for West Malling has paid some of her Councillors’ Highway Fund for a traffic calming scheme to prevent speeding vehicles spinning out of control on St Leonards Street. There were two more crashes in December.

The traffic calming scheme will include a hatched central island to encourage vehicles to the edge of the carriageway, SLOW markings on the road, and a vehicle activated sign. A new sign will also indicate walkers on the busy crossing between the tower and the park.

Council Tax Ups & Downs

Our Council Tax bills are made of costs of 3 councils, Kent County, Tonbridge and Malling Borough and West Malling Parish Councils.

This year, the Borough Council is completely changing the basis on which it collects Council Tax from April. Since 1974, people living in the areas outside Tonbridge have all got Parish Councils running such services as street lighting, churchyards and playing fields, which they pay for through their parish rate.

But people in Tonbridge have had those services paid for by the Borough rate which everyone in the Borough pays. This led to complaints that parish residents are paying twice and so the Borough Council made grants to Parishes to partly offset this unfairness.

Because of Government cutbacks, the Borough Council has at last decided to charge Tonbridge residents a fairer share of their costs, So your Borough rate bill will go down. But TMBC are also removing the Parish Grants which in W Malling total a loss of over £16,000. This was used to maintain the churchyard, playing fields, and street lights.

West Malling Parish Councillors have agreed unanimously that they do not wish to see any lowering of the standards of maintenance on these areas, and so have had to raise the parish rate to cover the loss of grant. The Borough Council says the effect of the Borough rate going down and the Parish rate going up should cancel one another out.

However, the Parish Council itself has additional costs to meet next year. They will be investing in ...............

  • A further £20,000 on lower energy, safer street lighting. That buys about five new columns.
  • Creating a pension for our new clerk, and equipping the office with a new computer and desks to replace the current planks our staff are working on.
  • Using a contractor to cut the Macey’s Meadow hedge on Norman Road as volunteers are no longer able to carry out this big job. These items add up to around £25,000 and will cost residents on average less than 50p per week per household.

The Council is saving money by ................

  • Moving into smaller premises.
  • Changing our street lights to LED lamps.
  • Awarding all contracts competitively annually.
  • Supporting volunteer groups who are running parish property at the Village Hall, the Cricket Club, Maceys Meadow and the Twitch Inn much more cheaply than we could do commercially.

We are very lucky indeed to have so many people who are active in making West Malling the great place it is to live. We hope residents will feel the additional cost of under 50p a week is good value for money.

Lib Dem membership reaches 87,000 as Article 50 is triggered

The Liberal Democrats have seen their membership surge to 87,000 on the same day Article 50 is triggered.

Over 5,000 members have joined the party since the beginning of February, when Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to vote in favour of triggering Article 50.

This comes amid reports that the Labour Party's membership has fallen by almost 11,000 over the last four weeks.

Join the Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat President Sal Brinton commented: "The clear message to this Government is we have not given up the fight against a hard Brexit, and thousands of people across the country agree with us.

"This is not the time for despair, it's the time for action.

"Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour may have given Theresa May a blank cheque to pursue her divisive Hard Brexit.

New Speedwatch gear

TWO new Speedwatch machines have arrived for use by the volunteer groups in the three villages represented by Cllr Trudy Dean. They will be used to measure the speed of traffic in local roads in East and West Malling and Larkfield and pass on details of offending vehicles to Kent Police for action. 

All information is now fed from every Speedwatch group in the country to the police so that people caught speeding in multiple locations will have all their offences added up, which was not the case in the past. 

Information from Speedwatch groups is also passed to Kent County Council to show the need for more police enforcement or traffic calming to be installed.

People concerned with traffic speeds in their local roads can join their local volunteer groups and receive a brief training. 

Volunteers in Larkfield should contact Ron Moore via the parish council offices on East Malling volunteers should contact Michelle Tatton at and in West Malling, Richard Selkirk at



Parishes gagged at site meetings

TONBRIDGE and Malling Council has overturned more than 40 years of practice and will now not allow parish councillors to speak at site investigations into planning applications.

The borough council raised a storm of protest just before Christmas when an announcement was made that parish council representatives and other interested bodies, such as conservation groups, would no longer be invited to site inspections.

During February, the borough council announced that it had reconsidered its position and parish councillors would be allowed to attend but only as observers. Developers will also be expected to open the gates to the property and then leave without taking part.

West Malling Parish Council is opposing the move. Chairman Trudy Dean said: “Since the borough council was formed in 1974, it has been the practice to invite parish councils and other interested bodies to site inspections. They are held infrequently, where applications are particularly complex, or cannot be seen from the public highway. These meetings on site are an opportunity for councillors to see things as they are on the ground, ask questions for clarification, and point out on the ground what their concerns may be about the effect on the surrounding area which is not always apparent from the plans. We know that planning applicants and developers often meet with planning officers on many occasions before an application is submitted, and this may be the only opportunity local people may have to point out improvements that might be made. Planning is a complex matter, and anything that can help understanding and improve the application is good in my book. The move is even more worrying as Tonbridge and Malling Council are no longer appointing a conservation officer, and so the inability of Malling Society members to attend these site meetings where they may have considerable local historical expertise, is a very backward step.

“I think the effect of what the borough council has done is that parish councils will ask for their own meetings with developers, and the borough officers will have to decide whether they wish to attend our meetings as well as their own, possibly doubling their workload."

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