THE chairman of the St Neots branch of the Liberal Democrats has stepped down after becoming disillusioned with the party.

THE chairman of the St Neots branch of the Liberal Democrats has stepped down after becoming disillusioned with the party.

Julia Hayward, 44, who has served on both Huntingdonshire District and St Neots Town Council, told The Hunts Post her decision to resign and leave the party was not taken lightly.

She said, in a letter to members of the Huntingdonshire Lib Dem Executive, that her "personal convictions have diverged from the direction of the party as a whole" and added it would be "hypocritical" to remain a member.

Ms Hayward was an active member of the Huntingdonshire branch of the Liberal Democrats for 12 years, serving on the town council between 2003 and 2011 with former mayor Gordon Thorpe.

Mr Thorpe said: "I am very sad to see Julia go because she has been a total stalwart. You never know, she may return."

Ms Hayward said policies being adopted by the Coalition - most notably the Health and Social Care bill, the Welfare Reform bill and changes to restrict Legal Aid for the most vulnerable - were among the factors which led to her departure. She added there was "no way to reconcile" this conflict with her own beliefs.

Ms Hayward says she has no intention of joining any other party at this time.