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Lib Dem to step down from Worcester City Council
A WELL-KNOWN Worcester councillor has revealed he is quitting next month - after taking a parting shot at the city's Conservatives.
Ken Carpenter, a Liberal Democrat who played a huge part in dumping the Tories from power last May in favour of a new Labour administration, says he will walk away from the Guildhall with his head held high.
The 68-year-old, who represents Claines, has a busy day job working on specialist systems which prevents planes from crashing, and says work and family reasons are behind his decision to step down and not stand for re-election.
Back in 2012 the Liberal Democrats agreed to back a minority Conservative administration in a pact at the city council.
But last year the group stunned the city's political scene by switching sides, saying they no longer had confidence in the Tories.
Mr Carpenter said: "When we decided to support the Conservatives it was a matter of arithmetic.
"As the year went on, we saw the way the Green councillor behaved (Neil Laurenson, who sided with Labour) and it became clear that there was a choice.
"We could not see ways in which the Conservatives were actively planning for a council which could promote Worcester in four or five years time.
"We had more confidence Labour would make decisions the way we'd prefer them to be made, they had much more energy, it's been much more congenial, it's much better."
Mr Carpenter is also a former Malvern Hills district councillor for eight years in the 1980s, and at the time led the town's Lib Dem group.
A mathematician by trade, he spent a chunk of his life working at the Met Office on climate change modelling before moving into air traffic management.
"There's a long list of reasons why I'm stepping down but the main one is the demands on my time," he said.
"I still have a day job and I have grandchildren."
Worcester's Conservative group, which has attacked the Lib Dems by claiming they talk "in riddles", say they are "disappointed" he is not defending his seat.
Councillor Marc Bayliss, Tory group deputy leader, said: "I'm disappointed he's running away from the electorate.
"Due to what he did last year it's a shame he's not facing the voters."
The local elections take place on Thursday, May 22.
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