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Former Lib Dem Councillor Joins Independent Group at GBC

Published on: 14 Nov, 2018
Updated on: 17 Nov, 2018

Cllr Colin Cross (left) joins Cllrs Tony Rooth and Bob Mcshee’s in the Independent Group at GBC

Colin Cross, the Lovelace borough councillor who quit the Liberal Democrat group at Guildford Borough Council two week’s ago, has joined the Independent group formed by former Conservative Councillor’s Tony Rooth (Pilgrims) and Bob McShee (Worplesdon).

In a statement, issued this afternoon (November 14, 2018), he identifies protection of the green-belt and obtaining greater openness and transparency at GBC as the main common causes he shares with his new colleagues.

He also confirmed that he will stand as an Independent at the borough council elections next May, a possible sign that the group is preparing a coordinated campaign.

Cllr Cross resigned because his party leader, Caroline Reeves (Friary & St Nicolas), had agreed to waive her right to “call-in” a proposal to make a bid for government money to prepare an application for a garden community at the former Wisley Airfield.

Cllr Reeves was given only 24-hours notice of the proposal before it was unanimously approved by the Executive, Council Leader Paul Spooner (Con, Ash South & Tongham) having decided not to use delegated powers to approve the proposal alone.

The addition of a new member of the Independent group will trigger a recalculation of the council’s committee memberships. It seems likely that one seat on the Planning Committee will now have to be allocated to the Independent group, something the Conservative leadership was keen to avoid. The Lib Dem might also decrease.

In his statement, Cllr Cross said: “As announced on 30th October, I have resigned my membership of the GBC Lib Dem group. I can confirm this move was brought about by irreconcilable differences with the local Lib Dem group leader, with particular reference to the former Wisley Airfield site and its future.

“I strongly believe in the ongoing protection and survival of the green belt across Guildford Borough and I will continue to oppose large-scale development in Lovelace ward including Wisley and the proposed Garlicks Arch site where 550 new homes are planned on existing green fields and woodland.

“Therefore, I have chosen to join an independent alliance with two other recently announced independent GBC councillors, Tony Rooth and Bob McShee. We aim to share certain common policies of a non-party political nature, such as the ongoing protection of Guildford’s green belt and villages, the pursuit of greater democracy and transparency at GBC and an end to expensive vanity projects such as the awful “Pop Up Village”, the proposed £3.5m Walnut Bridge and the new, very expensive paving in Tunsgate.

“I look forward to working with Tony, Bob and other like-minded individuals, as closely as possible whilst we all retain our individuality and independence.

“I intend to stand again for Lovelace ward as an Independent at the May 2019 council elections.”

Cllr Tony Rooth commented: “Bob and I really look forward to joining Colin in an Independent Alliance of independent-minded individuals. We are three councillors who care passionately about Guildford borough, our services, the issues and challenges the council and our residents face.

“We may be from different political backgrounds but we share the common belief that our local borough council, it’s  policies and management should be free from party politics as much as possible.”

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Responses to Former Lib Dem Councillor Joins Independent Group at GBC

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    November 14, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Hurrah, let’s have many more split from this discredited Tory leadership.

    Here’s to the Independents and smaller party majority next year.

    The Conservatives only have themselves to blame, so detached are they from the wishes of the people of Guildford.

    I look forward to the day that Guildford is no longer a rotten borough.

    As has been clarified in a later comment Colin Cross was a Lib Dem Councillor not Conservative. Ed

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    November 14, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Excellent news. I hope they achieve their goals.

  3. Valerie Thompson Reply

    November 15, 2018 at 9:20 am


    Let’s hope more dissatisfied Conservatives, fed up with being sidelined if they do not sit on the Executive Committee, will take this Independent route as well.

    As has been pointed out in a later comment Colin Cross was a Lib Dem Councillor not Conservative. Ed

  4. Paul Spooner Reply

    November 15, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    I know this is inconvenient for Mr Cranwell and Ms Thompson, but Cllr Cross was not a Conservative, but why would the editor wish to clarify that if it works for his own personal political agenda?

    Paul Spooner is the leader of Guildford Borough Council.

    • Sara Tokunaga Reply

      November 15, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      This comment is the reason we need more Independent councillors.

  5. Bernard Parke Reply

    November 15, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Political agenda?

    What political agenda is that?

  6. Valerie Thompson Reply

    November 15, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    I am hoping that more councillors, including those who are at the moment, Conservatives, will consider joining the
    breakaway Independents.

    We need more independent thinkers, who do not wish to “follow my leader”, whichever leader that may be, into actions and decisions of which they do not approve, to have the courage to break from whichever party they belong to at present.

  7. Steve Jones Reply

    November 15, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    A Lib Dem councillor has joined two Conservatives to form an Independent group outside of party politics. Good for them. Party politics at Guildford Borough Council stinks – the domineering leadership of Cllrs Spooner and Furniss, a sidelined Executive, a wet and bullied Tory group and an ineffective Lib Dem opposition led by Cllr Reeves.

    What is Cllr Spooner’s own personal political agenda?

    Does he want to climb the greasy pole of party politics like the ambitious Cllr Furniss?

    Let’s have more independently minded councillors who care much more about Guildford than Westminster.

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