THE former leader of the Andover Independents Party at town council level has spoken out about how she views the party’s vision for more diverse representation living on following the group’s disbandment.

Last month, the AIP took the decision to part ways, with the five members continuing to sit on Andover Town Council as independent councillors.

In a follow-up interview with the Advertiser, leader Cllr Rebecca Meyer reiterated that the group felt that they had “just achieved our aim”.

READ MORE: Andover Independents party disbands after 'fulfilment of its aims'

“I am not anybody’s keeper,” she said. “It’s not one of those things that I am the leader and I am saying it’s time. It was a mutual decision.”

The party was formed by ex-Andover Alliance members, with a shared aim of bringing greater diversity to the council.

“We wanted to encourage more people to stand as representatives, to increase diversity,” said Cllr Meyer.

She added that, while progress has been made, there is further room for improvement.

“Andover is a multicultural society. I want more people to actually want to stand as politicians. Something that England is known for is having pale, male and stale politicians, and I want to get some different people in,” she said.

“National parties should have no part in local politics, and it helps that we [on the town council] are almost all independent now, because someone can’t say that they have to be a member of a party to join. I want people to actually vote for the people.

“We are working together, as independents. I think it would be good if everybody worked together - but that doesn’t seem to happen! But that isn’t specific to Andover Town Council.”

Responding to social media criticism, which members of the AIP have had their fair share of, Cllr Meyer said: “If people wanted to get involved, they wouldn’t be on social media. They would come to meetings, or they would email me. Social media is not real life. If someone has a problem, I’d like to meet them in person and you often find that when you offer that, they don’t want to talk any more”.

Looking to the future, Cllr Meyer says that she and her fellow former AIP members plan to continue increasing diversity and promoting inclusivity within the council.

SEE ALSO: Have Andover residents ‘lost faith’ in their town council?

“I would really like to get the Guildhall open and I would like us to be able to hold surgeries there,” she said.

“I know people like to see the real person, and if they can’t make it to a meeting they would still like to see you.

“We know different platforms appeal to different people and I want to encourage people to get more involved.”

Message from the editor 

Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support. 

Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from Andover by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.

Kimberley Barber