The Government’s intervention last week in South Oxfordshire District Council’s Local Plan was nothing short of an outrageous affront to local democracy.

The authoritarian nature of Robert Jenrick’s actions, demanding that democratically elected councillors do what he wants, rather than what their electors want, has not gone unnoticed. It serves to undermine this Government’s credibility in Oxfordshire.

The local elections last May were fought on the issue of the Local Plan, and it is utterly unacceptable for the Conservatives in Whitehall to seek to overrule local people.

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What was the point of even holding local elections if a change in the ruling parties is not allowed to lead to a change in policy?

This is about leadership, specifically what kind of leadership Jenrick and the Government want to show. I offered to meet with the Secretary of State, which he accepted, but he has since refused to even offer any dates for us to sit down with council leaders.

I think that says it all about the style of leadership the Conservatives in Westminster want to use.

This weekend, I announced that I will be running to be the next Leader of the Liberal Democrats. I want to lead and empower the Lib Dems so that we play a positive role in influencing our country’s future.

I’m doing this by listening. Not by demanding, not by just talking at people.

Because we can never learn unless we listen first.

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In every constituency surgery, in my visits across the country and every day in our community or in Parliament, I believe that listening is the most important thing I do.

On the doorsteps I’m hearing that the Liberal Democrats need to move on from the last decade, and put forward a positive vision for the future. This is what I intend to do as the leader of the party, and I’ll continue to listen to the ideas and opinions of both members and voters over the coming months.

I’m finding that we have strong support and credibility at a local level in many areas, but we need to set out a clear and positive vision in order to win back support nationally.

I will still put my constituents in Oxford West and Abingdon first, and residents are the most important thing to me. Four fifths of my staff and office budgets as an MP support my team in Abingdon, here in the constituency.

As the leader of a national party, I know that I will have a bigger platform to push the issues that matter most to us locally – like delivering Lodge Hill, restoring local railways and scrapping the Expressway – further up the political agenda.