The Letchworth and Baldock Liberal Democrats held its annual general meeting on Tuesday at the Baldock Arts Centre.

The key message of the AGM was the Lib Dems providing a “strong alternative movement of the progressive centre”, with claims the Conservatives “just don’t care”.

At the meeting, which also elected a new executive committee for the coming year, branch chairman Barry Neale said: “With the two main political parties in such a shambles, and pulling themselves ever further to the extreme far right and the far left, the Liberal Democrats have a great opportunity to become a strong alternative movement of the progressive centre, and to win seats across the country.

“North Hertfordshire is facing the same problems as regions elsewhere – incomes are squeezed, prices are rising, the number of families struggling to cope is increasing, and the number of homeless is growing.

“The Tories – both at Westminster and those in control of our local council – just don’t care, and they don’t listen.

“The Conservatives are presiding over a society where food banks and tax evaders flourish, where hedge fund managers and those on benefits grow in number. We deserve better than this.”

Responding to the claims, Councillor Lynda Needham – leader of the Conservative-controlled district council and who represents Letchworth South West – said: “This sounds very much like electioneering and trying to get back lost ground.

“I would be keen to see any actual evidence here at NHDC of the Conservative councillors “pulling themselves even further to the extreme far right”.

“Certainly there have been no changes of views of the elected Conservative councillors at NHDC.”

Joining Mr Neale on the Lib Dems’ executive committee are Richard Winter as secretary, Jane Fae as treasurer, Bob Young as membership secretary, Sean Predergast as communications and media officer, Steve Jarvis as a councillor representing wards/divisions in the branch area, and Iris Burstow and Brian Evans – both as ordinary members.