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Councillor Was Not Removed Over Clay Lane Disagreement Says Council Leader

Published on: 14 Mar, 2016
Updated on: 17 Mar, 2016
Cllr Paul Spooner the new leader of Guildford Borough Council.

Cllr Paul Spooner the leader of Guildford Borough Council.

Council leader Paul Spooner denied this afternoon (March 15) that he had removed Cllr Bob McShee from the Local Committee because of their disagreement over the Clay Lane relief road proposal. at a full council meeting. 

Cllr Spooner said that he had ordered the move because it is: “…good to have a change”.

It is the second time Cllr McShee, a Conservative councillor noted for his independence, has been removed from the committee. Such moves are unusual.

He was previously removed by the former council leader Stephen Mansbridge in October 2014. Mr Mansbridge had to endure the wrath of veteran Worplesdon parish councillor Sandra Morgan on that occasion.

Bob McShee 01

Cllr Bob McShee, known for his independence

This time, the disagreement between the ward councillor for Worplesdon and his leader occurred at the last full council meeting on February 10.

Cllr McShee was requesting that council policy was aligned with a press release the council had issued, indicating that a decision on the controversial roads project would await further information from the Highways Agency.

Worplesdon Parish Council are understood to be fully supportive of Cllr McShee’s stand but it was notable that his two ward councillor colleagues, David Elms and Iseult Roche voted against Cllr McShee’s amendment.

Some eyebrows were raised when the council leader described the amendment, in language not usually heard in council meetings, as “stupid”. Today, Cllr Paul Spooner was keen to emphasise that it was the amendment and not Cllr McShee himself that he was describing.

Cllr McShee has subsequently apologised to his councillor colleagues for not submitting his amendment in writing before the council meeting in accordance with normal practice.

See also: Councillor Says He Was Removed From Committee Over Views On Link Road Plans

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Responses to Councillor Was Not Removed Over Clay Lane Disagreement Says Council Leader

  1. Jenny Procter Reply

    March 15, 2016 at 6:12 am

    “It is good to have a change,” is a fairly lame get out for removing a questioning voice and calling a fellow councillor’s suggested amendment ‘stupid’. It was pretty insulting.

    I have seen the council in operation in planning meetings and put downs and patronising responses are not uncommon when perfectly reasonable and intelligent but potentially unwelcome questions are asked or clarification demanded. It is not an attractive aspect of our local politics.

  2. Janette Panton Reply

    March 15, 2016 at 7:58 am

    I am sorry but Cllr Spooner’s, reasons for removing Cllr McShee from the committee are lame, in my view.

    Many of us hoped there would be positive change within GBC when Stephen Mansbridge resigned, but it would appear the Tory dictatorship lives on. Tow the party line or face the consequences.

    As the only Worplesdon borough councillor who truly represents his residents, Cllr McShee is penalised. Something needs to be done to restore democracy at Guildford Borough Council, starting with reinstating Cllr McShee onto the Local Committee.

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    March 15, 2016 at 8:49 am

    Yes it would be good to have change – from a dictatorial style leadership to a democratic one. I sat in the chamber that night and I know, and clearly understood, what I heard.

    For those who wish to see for themselves, a recording of the meeting is available on the Guildford Borough Council Website. Ed

  4. Bernard Parke Reply

    March 15, 2016 at 8:54 am

    If these Conservative councillors cannot agree amongst themselves, what hope is there for any of us?

  5. Mary Bedforth Reply

    March 16, 2016 at 10:48 am

    because it is: “…good to have a change”….

    Some of us will remember that at the next local elections in 2019.

  6. Paul Spooner Reply

    March 16, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    I corrected the position in relation to Cllr McShee at yesterday’s leader’s press conference that was attended by David Rose.

    I should know whether it was directly related to the party matter referenced by Cllr McShee or not.

    As I explained, there are 22 Wards in GBC and Conservatives have an interest in 18 of them (19 at time of decision prior to Will Chesterfield’s resignation [from Stoke ward]) and there are only seven seats on Local Committee for Conservatives, thus 12 wards are unrepresented. Whoever fills those seats must be representing the whole borough and not just focused on an individual ward.

    Cllr Bilbe has undertaken to represent the borough. I trust this explains the actual reason. It has nothing to do with the Clay Lane Link Road.

    Paul Spooner is the leader of Guildford Borough Council and a Conservative ward councillor for South Ash & Tongham.

  7. Anna-Marie Davis Reply

    March 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    If representation is so important to Cllr Spooner, perhaps he could reiterate this to the councillors who stood at the election yet feel it is not necessary to respond to constituents nor attend council meetings.

    Cllr Alexandra Chesterfield [Con, Friary & St Nicolas] has an absence rate of 60% [source GBC website], i.e. she has been absent from three of the five council meetings she was due to attend*. Nonetheless she has received the councillor allowance, which hardly seems good value for money.

    *Apologies were given.Ed

  8. Anna-Marie Davis Reply

    March 18, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Basically, Cllr McShee has pointed out that the council are reneging on their word, and has been silenced, and his amendment called stupid. So this is what happens when an elected representative attempts to get his own party to honour their word to the electorate.

    Guildford Borough Council has serious governance and transparency issues. It is very clear to any informed observer.

  9. Ben Paton Reply

    March 19, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Mr McShee’s comment was not stupid at all.

    All he did was point out that the council had earlier issued a press release saying one thing and that the council was about to pass a motion saying something rather different. What was wrong with pointing that out? Wasn’t that an honest observation? Wasn’t he correct? And if he was correct then either the earlier press release or the motion needed amendment.

    Instead of addressing the point the council leader has removed Mr McShee from the Local Committee, the justification is, in so many words, that the decision was just a coincidence.

  10. Jenny Procter Reply

    March 22, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    This is laughable in its transparency as an excuse from our lead councillor. It is also tragic in a situation where transparency is so demonstrably absent in the matters which affect all of us, as in this instance where Cllr Bob McShee was seeking clarification because the public have apparently been misled by the council’s press release.

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