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Councillor Complains of Party Politically Motivated Motions on Borough Council’s Agenda

Published on: 4 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 16 Apr, 2022

By Martin Giles

Two motions tabled for debate at tomorrow’s (April 5) full Guildford Borough Council meeting are motivated by national party politics, claims R4GV councillor Maddy Redpath.

But defending his motion Cllr George Potter (Lib Dem, Burpham) said: “Given GBC has previously passed purely symbolic motions on things like congratulating the Queen on her Jubilee, we see no reason why it shouldn’t pass a substantive motion on an issue as important as this.”

Cllr Paul Spooner

The first of the two motions on the agenda proposes GBC condemns amajority male” sub-committee of the Surrey Police and Crime Panel, which: “… voted to discipline the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for supporting the view that biologically male rapists were not female.”

Proposed by Cllr Paul Spooner (Con, South Ash & Tongham), it criticises “…the decision by the subcommittee which has caused anger and hurt for women in Surrey, as it sets a precedent that men should police the language of women about an emotive subject.”

If passed, the motion would call on GBC’s joint chief executive to send a “letter of concern” to the chairman of the Police and Crime Panel.

Cllr George Potter

The second motion, a lengthy three-pages, proposed by Cllr George Potter (Lib Dem, Burpham), is on the subject of violence against women and girls. It calls on the council’s Executive to:

  • recognise misogyny as a hate crime;
  • find ways to help support members of our diverse communities who
    may need specialist care and help;
  • ensure that Guildford Borough Council continues to do everything in
    its power to build a borough free from misogyny and violence against
    women and girls. This includes continuing to invest in vital services,
    listening and responding to women and girls about the action needed,
    and calling out misogyny and sexism wherever we see or hear it;
  • work with Surrey Police on improving women’s safety in Guildford
  • continue to work with local and national networks working to end
    violence against women and girls.
  • become a White Ribbon Accredited Organisation (

Cllr Maddy Redpath.

Cllr Maddy Redpath said: “I ran as a councillor because I strongly believe national party politics has no place in local councils. The first motion relates to a county council/PCC issue and the second motion’s only purpose is to bring attention to the Liberal Democrat national campaign.

“Our officers are incredibly busy. Is this seriously what they should be doing, drafting and editing a three-page motion to promote a national campaign? How much money has this already cost GBC?

“How will these motions help anything? Next week are we going to run a motion to ‘End World Hunger’?”

But Cllr Potter said: “Violence against women and girls is an endemic issue across our society, and it’s unacceptable that half the population are forced to arrange their lives around an ever-constant threat of violence simply because of their gender.

“My colleagues and I have submitted this motion because we want Guildford Borough Council to act on this issue through working with our partner organisations and exploring becoming a White Ribbon Accredited organisation. We also want GBC to ask partner organisations to take specific actions, within their remits, which will help tackle violence against women and girls.”

We were unable to ask Cllr Spooner about his motion as he does not accept questions from The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

Update: Both motions failed at the subsequent full council meeting.

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Responses to Councillor Complains of Party Politically Motivated Motions on Borough Council’s Agenda

  1. George Potter Reply

    April 4, 2022 at 4:34 pm

    I’m curious, was it “party politically motivated” when, a few months ago, one of Cllr Maddy Redpath’s R4GV colleagues submitted a motion to council asking GBC to express support for the Local Electricity Bill which was making its way through parliament?

    How come ending violence against women and girls is party politically motivated and irrelevant to GBC, but opining on government legislation isn’t?

    Answers on a postcard please.

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham.

    • Maddy Redpath Reply

      April 5, 2022 at 8:12 am

      Cllr Potter has certainly gone out of his way to try and prove me a hypocrite.

      The motion which Cllr Potter refers to was submitted in September 2020 which for many new councillors at the time, including some involved with this Lib Dem motion, was only their fourth full council meeting.

      The motion was withdrawn ahead of the debate due to concerns raised by councillors from all parties. Similar concerns have been vocalised to Cllr Potter about his motion, but he is choosing to ignore them.

      Cllr Maddy Redpath is a R4GV borough councillor for Holy Trinity.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      April 5, 2022 at 8:42 am

      Borough Councillors exist to serve residents. Their powers are severely constrained. They can’t change the Strategic Road Network (i.e. the A3). They can’t change local schools and hospitals. But they do have specific responsibility for planning. If only they would stick to their knitting and resolve to do the few things for which they are wholly responsible really well.

      Guildford residents are rather bored with Cllrs Potter and Spooner endlessly using them as a stepping stone for their own political ambitions, as guinea pigs on which to experiment with their latest propaganda.

      • Sara Tokunaga Reply

        April 5, 2022 at 5:48 pm

        I would like to wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Paton’s comments. Many of us are becoming increasingly annoyed with local councillors continuously trying to make a name for themselves by pursuing a national political agenda. These people were elected to deal with local issues, of which Guildford has many. They should be concentrating on these.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    April 4, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    I ask Councillor Potter if he also regards misandry and misanthropy to be “hate” crimes.

    Furthermore, what on earth has electricity got to do with it?

  3. Stuart Barnes Reply

    April 5, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    Do they get paid for all this stuff?

    If so, perhaps a motion to remove their pay until they concentrate on things more relevant to the people of Surrey and Guildford should be proposed by some of the grown-ups.

  4. Liz Critchfield Reply

    April 5, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    I am pleased to see that Cllr Potter is concerned about the safety of women. However, I seem to remember that he called the Police and Crime Commissioner “a transphobic bigot” when she raised the issue of allowing biological males into women-only spaces, this despite the fact that she made it clear that she was not referring to transwomen.

    How was this an appropriate way of approaching a sensitive issue?

    The issue of gender and sex is complex and needs to be considered very carefully. Discussion needs to be inclusive, apolitical, calm, rational and conducted through civilised debate, if such a thing is possible anymore. Given the vile abuse hurled at anyone perceived to hold the “wrong” views, I doubt it.

    • Conor James Reply

      April 5, 2022 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you to the Lib Dems in Guildford for actually standing up and demonstrating their support for women and girls in all our communities.

      It’s a shame R4GV doesn’t.

      And as for saying the Police and Crime Commissioner, “…raised the issue of allowing biological males into women-only spaces,” Liz Critchfield, seems confused. The PCC has repeatedly tweeted very transphobic things. She’s very entitled to her beliefs and is allowed to express them but so is Cllr Potter.

      • Jim Allen Reply

        April 5, 2022 at 5:04 pm

        Transphobia? What exactly is that? An expression of disapproval, a query as to the technical correctness of a given statement, or merely a sign the writer disagrees and has resorted to name-calling, designed to insult? Similar to calling person a “Nimby”.

        Personally, I am very tired of these matters, they are actually irrelevant to real-world issues.

        Surely our council should be discussing lack of infrastructure, and given the global situation, bomb shelters, food supplies and first aid posts, followed by expenditure for simple maintenance of our borough. Or is that too practical and too simplistic?

    • George Potter Reply

      April 5, 2022 at 5:00 pm

      Connor James has put it better than I can.

      Our Police and Crime Commissioner is meant to represent everyone in Surrey and is supposed to focus on making our communities safer. Instead, she is spending her time performatively spouting fact-free transphobia (doubtless in order to build a national profile which will allow her to seek selection in a Conservative safe seat) and ignoring the actual, very real, issues threatening our communities.

      By making prejudiced comments our PCC is sending a message to vulnerable communities that they cannot rely upon her to represent them or care about their safety and wellbeing. This was, and is, grotesquely inappropriate and I have no regrets over for my previous statements.

  5. Sue Hackman Reply

    April 5, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    One of the reasons why Lib Dems in Guildford and elsewhere float these motions (and press releases) about their national campaign themes is that it gets them headline space, and it positions other parties where they have to follow after, carping. I don’t mind the Lib Dems being politically motivated (that’s the point of having a political party, isn’t it?) but I do mind that The Guildford Dragon buys it every time.

    The Guildford Dragon is turning into a Lib Dem campaign sheet.

    Sue Hackman is a spokesperson for Guildford Labour.

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