Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Andrew De Freitas looks back

This is Grimsby has a profile of the long-serving Liberal and Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew De Freitas, who left Guyana as a teenager before he settling in the town:
Andrew joined the Liberal Party in 1963, in large part due to his admiration for its leader Jo Grimond. 
"I would say he is the best Prime Minister we never had. He had foresight and was ahead of his time." 
He was first elected to Grimsby Council in 1969 at the age of 24, winning a seat in the Humber ward, which is today part of the East Marsh seat. 
Standing on a pledge to improve the substandard housing stock in the neighbourhood, he took two weeks holiday to knock on every door in the ward. 
Andrew served as a councillor in the ward for eight years, before leaving for the Middle East. 
In 1981, shortly after his return to Grimsby, he was elected to a seat in the Central ward – later to become the Park ward which he still represents to this day.
Most telling is his memory of his early days on the council:
"When I first got elected, the Labour party was so upset that they would not allow me to serve on any committee of the council. They treated me like I was an outsider."
That is how Labour used to behave until the law was changed under Margaret Thatcher. In my early days in the party there were regular reports in Liberal News about councillors taking their own authorities to court to win the right to attend meetings or read reports.

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