By-election called in Surbiton Hill

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Liberal Democrat Councillor for Surbiton Hill ward, Umesh Parekh (left in picture), has stepped down from Kingston Council to take up an exciting new job with the major environmental campaigning charity Friends of the Earth.

A requirement of Umesh’s new role is that he cannot stand for, or be elected to, a local Council.

Umesh said, “I am sure that everyone will understand that this is a great opportunity for me to use my skills in an area which I strongly believe in, but sadly I will not be able to represent Surbiton Hill ward any longer as one of its three Liberal Democrat councillors.

“I was honoured to have been elected last year and I am proud of what we have achieved locally in the many years I have been campaigning in the area and over the past 15 months that I’ve been one of the ward’s councillors”

Local Liberal Democrats have selected John Ayles (right in picture) to be the Party’s by election candidate. John and his wife Caroline, a local GP, have lived in the same house in Corkran Road, Surbiton for nearly 25 years. They have four grown up children – two currently at university.

John runs an education charity which supports 2 schools, youth organisations and young people up to the age of 25 in the Borough of Southwark. He is also Clerk to the Governors of both schools. John is a qualified accountant and worked for many years in the commercial sector. At the age of 51 John was made redundant when his company changed hands so he understands only too well the social and financial impact of recession.

John has been active in the Liberal Democrats, and the SDP before it, for almost 30 years. He has been an active member of the Surbiton Hill Focus Team since the late 1980s and has helped campaign for improvements to services for local people all that time.

John says, “I work in education and my wife Caroline is a local doctor. Campaigning with the Lib Dems for a new school and health centre on the old Surbiton Hospital site is therefore a cause very close to my heart. The Tories decision to campaign against both these much needed facilities is scandalous and to suggest instead that an old people’s home be pulled down to make way for a school is nothing short of spiteful.

“I hope my neighbours in Surbiton Hill ward will give me the opportunity to represent them on Kingston Council and to join Neil Houston and Malcolm Self as their third Lib Dem councillor and keep up the high standard of work they have given since being elected last year.”

John is a member of the Southborough Residents Association, where he lives, and is a keen member of All Saints Parish Church in Kingston.

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