A LEDBURY councillor has become the only independent member in the UK to be appointed to the Congress of the Council of Europe.
Coun Liz Harvey, deputy group leader for It’s Our County, is one of 18 councillors on the panel – which reflects the national political balance so only has one place for independents.
One of her first tasks will be helping monitor the health of democracy in the UK during the 2014 European elections and the 2015 general, local and parish elections.
She said: “I’m very proud to have been nominated to represent the UK’s independent councillors on this historic body.
“Europe is facing very serious challenges over the next few years, and I’m deeply sceptical whether traditional party politics is going to be flexible and agile enough to cope with the challenges ahead.
“Within and beyond the crazy world of EU national politics, communities and groups are getting on with developing new ways of working which show just what can be down when top-down policies fracture, giving bottom-up initiatives the light and air they need to develop.”
Anthony Powers, It’s Our County group leader, added: “I can’t think of a better example of the best that independent councillors have to offer than the new model for coherent group working that It’s Our County is developing here in Herefordshire.
“Liz is a key member of our team – an outstanding councillor with a forensically analytical mind. She won’t be standing for any of their nonsense, Europe had better be on its best behaviour!”