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County Councillor Will No Longer Engage Because of Editor’s ‘Bias’

Published on: 7 May, 2022
Updated on: 9 May, 2022

Cllr Matt Furniss

Matt Furniss, the Conservative county councillor for the Shalford division has said that he will no longer “be engaging” with The Guildford Dragon NEWS because, he claims, the editor Martin Giles follows, “a personal and biased line against Conservatives in general and a few individuals personally”.

See also: Democracy Is Hard But Local Politicians Must Remain Accountable

His announcement came in the response to an email from Dragon reporter for Ash David Reading, who was asking for input from Cllr Furniss to an article on health provision in Ash and its adequacy following the multiple housing developments and increased population in the village.

Ash reporter David Reading’s email request to Cllr Matt Furniss…

David Reading

David Reading approached Cllr Furniss because the borough councillor for South Ash and Tongham and lead councillor for the Conservative Group at GBC, Paul Spooner, has already said that he did not want enquiries from The Dragon to be sent to him. This follows a similar request from Cllr Nigel Manning, the chair of Ash Parish Council and a borough councillor.

…and his response, 11 days later.

Martin Giles

Responding to Matt Furniss’s decision, Martin Giles said: “I am not sure which articles, published since David Reading’s request, Cllr Furniss is referring to but his email is no surprise. The idea that I have a vendetta against the Conservative party is, frankly, puerile nonsense.

“There appears to be a small clique of Guildford Conservatives who seem to forget they are meant to be accountable and who find any scrutiny and criticism intolerable.

“But, of course we and our readers are perfectly at liberty to question and criticise and at The Dragon comment and opinion is always easily discernable from our news reports. Fortunately, other Conservatives, including county and borough councillors, remain prepared to communicate, that also includes the Guildford Conservative Association with which relations are perfectly civil.”

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Responses to County Councillor Will No Longer Engage Because of Editor’s ‘Bias’

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    May 7, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    Makes you wonder what’s in the report that they would rather not discuss.

    Lack of medical provision might be an issue but I’m sure nursery, primary and secondary schooling will also be a problem and surely the newly created traffic congestion will be annoying everyone and causing more pollution.

    The Conservatives wanted more housing, it seems at all costs, will they ever see the benefits of development like new roads, facilities and that bridge that they promised?

  2. Graham Cole Reply

    May 7, 2022 at 9:10 pm

    Oh dear, how sad, never mind – Windsor Davies

  3. Clare McCann Reply

    May 8, 2022 at 9:54 am

    Why am I not surprised about Paul Spooner and Matt Furniss? I still remember them attending a packed meeting in Send about the Guildford Plan and sitting in a corner whispering and sniggering while local people tried to get a message across about the deep unfairness being meted out to our village. They couldn’t have cared less, it seemed.

  4. Jim Allen Reply

    May 8, 2022 at 10:54 am

    As the most apolitical person you will find, I try and use any politician to get what is best for the community.

    Cllr Furniss is suffering from a lack of democratic values. He, like Cllr Spooner, was elected by a majority in their respective areas of responsibility, to represent all residents, not just those wearing blue.

    His refusal to be challenged, or even questioned, suggests he favours the type of censorship we see elsewhere in the world.

    Very disappointing.

  5. John Perkins Reply

    May 8, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    It’s time for the councillor to grow up and accept he has a responsibility to the whole population covered by Surrey County Council and not just other members of his party.

    Editor’s note: The healthcare provision in question does affect some of the residents within Cllr Furniss’s division.

  6. Sara Tokunaga Reply

    May 8, 2022 at 3:08 pm

    What a childish response. As Mr Allen pointed out, Cllr Furniss should be representing all the people in Surrey, not just the ones who sport a blue rosette.

    He and Cllr Spooner obviously consider themselves much too important to deal with such trivialities as criticism from us lower mortals.

  7. Martin Elliott Reply

    May 8, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    Remember, beyond this puerile reaction, Matt Furniss is the SCC Transport lead. How do we get important feedback, for example, the switch to Ringway as the prime roads contractor?

    Over several years this councillor has refused to answer my questions on policy and funding by email, Twitter and Facebook although invited to do so. And if you persist, as I did, guess what? You get blocked.

  8. Dave Fielding Reply

    May 8, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    This is typical of the press in Britain. Who do they think they are to ask questions of our politicians? Whatever next? This radical nonsense must stop.

    Fair play to Cllr Furniss and his colleagues in the Conservative party. Why should we know what they’re up to?

    • Ben Paton Reply

      May 9, 2022 at 10:52 am

      Absolutely. The effrontery of the press knows no limits.

      Let’s have a party and invite the KGB. They know how to deal with journalists.

      Russian Vodka may no longer be available but they have some tasty and effective substitutes.

  9. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 9, 2022 at 6:40 am

    Any attempt to try to silence the free press is more worthy of Putin’s Russia than a democracy.

  10. A J Ferenczy Reply

    May 10, 2022 at 11:19 am

    How very Furniss. Says it all. The people of Guildford and Surrey deserve so, so much better.

  11. C Monk Reply

    May 11, 2022 at 8:55 am

    Cllr Furniss never bothered to answer any of my emails, so he’s certainly not very approachable. Pretty pointless him being in office really.

  12. Jim Allen Reply

    May 11, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    Perhaps Cllr Furniss should be “FoI’d” [information requested under the Freedom of Information Act] on these issues.

    The electorate could then see exactly how he is dealing with the serious problems of infrastructure and what has happened to the very WOKE and, dare I say, incompetent Surrey Transport Plan for which he has responsibility.

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