On 24 November, some 100 members attended the AGM of Sutton Liberal Democrats at the Civic Offices to hear from their MP Tom (Sellick look-alike, at least in the month of Movember) Brake, Lord Graham Tope and guest speaker Deputy Leader Simon Hughes MP.
Incredibly the local Council now boasts of 43 out of the 54 Councillors being Liberal Democrats, with 20 new Councillors elected this May. Simon Hughes (arriving straight from an earlier interview with the NUS leader on tuition fees) was fulsome in his praise for Sutton's achievements. He warmed up the audience with some trivia questions on Coalitions across Europe. This was followed by insightful observations on both similarities and differences between his own Southwark and Sutton boroughs and how Lib Dem and Coalition policies can be made to work across London boroughs.
Merlene was warmly welcomed by members of the local party and was delighted to have been there. She commented:
"I have been so impressed by my colleagues in Sutton, some of whom I know through Ethnic Minority Lib Dems. I wish in particular to congratulate their leader, Cllr Sean Brennan for all the fantastic projects that the Council has pioneered, including the Hackbridge Eco-project and the newly opened Sutton Life Centre. They have certainly shown the way for other London boroughs to follow!"