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Former Lib Dem Councillor Now Quits from the Tories

Published on: 4 Jul, 2022
Updated on: 5 Jul, 2022

Cllr Jan Harwood

By Martin Giles

A former senior Lib Dem councillor and deputy leader of GBC, who shocked his colleagues by quitting and joining the Conservatives in November, has now quit the Tory group too. He continues as an Independent borough councillor for Merrow.

The news came to all GBC councillors in an email sent this afternoon (July 4) from the borough council’s Democratic Services manager John Armstrong.

The email informing GBC councillors of Cllr Harwood’s decision

One R4GV councillor commented: “Can you believe this guy?”

Cllr David Bilbe

But a former Conservative colleague showed some sympathy. Cllr David Bilbe (Normandy) said: “I’m disapointed. He is a good councillor and I liked working with him.

“He is technically very knowledgeable and I can respect his decision if it was due to frustration with central party politics.”

Harwood had also obtained a place in Guildford MP Angela Richardson’s, Team as a researcher but The Dragon was told that his six-month contract expired at the end of last week. Whether this triggered his decision is unknown.

In November, explaining his reason for leaving the Lib Dems, Cllr Harwood said: “I was dissatisfied with the functioning of the Guildford Liberal Democrats.”

Adding: “Do I endorse every decision ever made or currently being made by Conservative party? No. However, I have absolutely no doubt that out of all the major political parties, the Conservative party has demonstrated the greatest ability to shift and adapt to the ever-changing political landscape.”

See also: Opinion: I Stand By My Decision to Join the Conservatives

Since then he has remained out of the headlines but observers from outside the council and former colleagues within are known to have been sceptical that he would remain comfortable within the Conserevative group.

The Lib Dem group leader at GBC, Julia Mcshane (Westborough) said this evening that her group had no comment.

Cllr Harwood has undertaken to take part in an interview later this week in which he will be asked to give the reasons for his decision.

See also: Dragon Interview – Jan Harwood’s Right of Reply


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Responses to Former Lib Dem Councillor Now Quits from the Tories

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    July 5, 2022 at 9:34 am

    Perhaps he just developed a conscience, and decided he could no longer stomach the discredited GBC tories under Cllr Spooner?

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