Fringe Box



General Election Called For June 8: Guildford Politicians Comment

Published on: 18 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 19 Apr, 2017

Today’s announcement by the prime minister, Theresa May, that she intends to go to the country and hold a snap general election on June 8 has surprised everyone.

Rt Hon Anne Milton MP

Guildford’s Conservative MP, Anne Milton, the government’s deputy chief whip, said: “The prime minister has called a general election to make sure we have the strong and stable leadership we need.

“It has be an honour and a privilege to serve my constituents in Guildford, Cranleigh and our villages and I will certainly be putting forward my name to stand again as member of parliament.”

Ms Milton has created a Tory stronghold in Guildford after taking the seat back from the Lib Dems in 2005. At the 2015 general election she secured 57% of the vote and increased her majority to 22,000 over the Lib Dems, in second place, with just 8,300 votes.

But Guildford voted 56% Remain in the EU referendum last year and some Conservative supporters who are strongly pro-EU and disillusioned with the government’s Brexit strategy might consider switching to the Lib Dems.

The Liberal Democrats, who selected a parliamentary candidate last year when they thought a general election might have been called in the direct wake of the referendum, say they will stand on a: “…clear platform to prevent a hard Brexit by staying in the Single Market, and to give the British people the final say on the Brexit deal through a referendum.”

Their candidate, former borough councillor Zöe Franklin commented: “This election is a huge opportunity for voters in Guildford to change the direction of our country and prevent a disastrous hard Brexit.

“Last year people in Guildford voted decisively to remain in the EU, and certainly did not vote for the extreme form of Brexit that Theresa May has imposed on us after being backed by Labour.

“But this isn’t just about Brexit. Right now our social care system is collapsing because of government policies, the NHS is on the brink and our schools face average budget cuts of £300 per pupil. While the government is cutting taxes for big businesses it is taking an axe to our social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

“As the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate I know that the Liberal Democrats can deliver a fairer more positive future for everyone in Guildford. I am also committed to the Liberal Democrats’ opposition to a hard Brexit and it is a responsibility I take very seriously.

“I’m calling on everyone who shares our vision of an open, tolerant and united Britain to join the Liberal Democrats in the fight ahead.”

George Dokimakis

George Dokimakis, chairman of Guildford Labour, who have yet to select a parliamentary candidate, was equally enthusiastic but for different reasons: “We welcome this general election to put our case against the hard Brexit trajectory the Tory party is dead set on.

“The hypocrisy of Theresa May calling a general election only a couple of weeks after yet again declaring there will be no snap election is now visible to all.

“We will seek the mandate from the electorate for a soft Brexit that retains access to the EU markets and the economic benefits it brings, whilst ensuring we deliver for everyone across the UK, not just the elite few Theresa May and the Tory party care for.
“Our country and public services are suffering under the Tory rule and ideologically driven austerity. Locally we are witnessing the closure of the Stroke Services in Royal Surrey Hospital that our Tory MP has done nothing to prevent.
“Guildford and the UK deserve better and only Labour can deliver for everyone across the UK.”

George Johnson

Guildford has not been a happy hunting ground for UKIP who came fourth in 2015 with less than 5,000 votes but George Johnson, the UKIP county councillor for Shalford also welcomed the news: “A general election on June 8 is an opportunity for UKIP. We believe we will exceed the four million votes we received at the last election, and have representation in parliament.

“In the coming months, UKIP will be a strong voice against any backsliding on Brexit. After all, it is UKIP that gave the current government most of its policies, and those are the policies that will be brought to the electorate for approval in June.

“Hopefully, the citizens of Guildford will recognise that, and vote accordingly, not only in the national election, but in the imminent county election as well.

“UKIP is not a spent force. We have work to do nationally, and locally, to the public good.”

Susan Parker

Susan Parker, leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) who stood in the 2015 general election, told the Guildford Dragon NEWS that GGG would not be putting forward a parliamentary candidate this time. Known for her pro Remain views not shared by all her party colleagues, she said: “I welcome the general election.

“The UK has embarked on major constitutional change in terms of its relationship with Europe and within the UK. An ill-informed referendum was won by a wafer-thin majority, arguably influenced by lies.

“Constitutional change in this country has traditionally been ratified by a general election on those issues (like the election before the 1832 Great Reform Act). This election will enable us, with a better understanding, to reconsider the major changes ahead.

“I expect there will be major change in Parliament.

“In Guildford, we may see a change among our four MPs (Anne Milton, Paul Beresford, Michael Gove and Jonathan Lord). In Guildford, we voted to Remain, but they all voted to trigger Article 50. None of them have shown themselves to be principled. They all blow with the prevailing wind from Westminster.

“I hope it is time for that wind to change.”

Share This Post

Responses to General Election Called For June 8: Guildford Politicians Comment

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    April 18, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    I’m never ever voting Conservative again. They do not honour their election pledges, especially in Guildford.

    They have caused significant overcrowding in the South East, done little to address pollution, congestion etc. They have stripped the NHS bare, forced pay cuts and stagnation in wages for our emergency services, care workers and nurses. Teachers are driven into the ground by endless paperwork. And they have not protected our countryside.

    I could go on.

    Time for a change.

  2. Stuart Barnes Reply

    April 19, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Now is our chance to crush the remoaners. I would never have voted Conservative when the appalling Dave was in charge but, now that we have a sensible and principled lady as our PM who is going to get us out of the hated EU on best possible terms, our patriotic duty is clear.

    Let us give Mrs May the landslide mandate she deserves.

  3. Colin Cross Reply

    April 19, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Hopefully the Guildford electorate (including its Mole Valley component) will see that their faith in the Tories honouring their 2015 election pledges were sadly misplaced.

    The only way now to put a brake on this borough council and the Tory central government together with their “let’s concrete over the green belt” philosophy is through the ballot box on May 4 and June 8.

    A double whammy may just give them cause to belatedly reconsider their folly.

    With GGG not standing on June 8 and with only one candidate in the May 4 county council elections it is a pretty straightforward choice for any pro-green belt and/or remain voter in both these elections and that rules out the Tories, Labour and UKIP.

    We, as a country and as a borough, need a change of direction before it’s too late.

    In 2015 GGG showed us locally that this was achievable but this time it will be primarily the Lib Dems that offer that choice of change. Some things are worth buying into, even if you are unsure about the colour of the packaging.

    Colin Cross is the Lib Dem borough councillor for Lovelace

    • John Robson Reply

      April 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Is the Lib Dem councillor categorically stating his party will not build on the green belt in Surrey and beyond, full stop?

      Or post election will the manifesto pledge be watered down to include the words “wherever possible” which are the choice of weasel words from the current administration.

      Pardon my political cynicism, but rosette colour aside, it’s only recently that the Lib Dems were in coalition with the U-turn party when the draft Local Plan was compiled.

  4. John Morris Reply

    April 19, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    It is highly likely that I will let my name go forward again on 8th June as the candidate for The Peace Party – Non-violence, Justice, Environment for Guildford.

    I look forward to the opportunity to put before the public our understanding of universal human values and how they can promote all areas of endeavour, including peace, security, safety and protection, sound business environment, equitable distribution of resources, human rights, good relations with neighbours (and not leaving the EU), free flows of information, quality education for all and confidence and trust in institutions.

  5. Colin Cross Reply

    April 20, 2017 at 12:59 am

    To be clear, it must be said that these two issues are entirely different. The coalition was one thing, badly handled in retrospect, the Local Plan is different.

    It’s pretty obvious that some individuals on the council want to avoid significant development in the town centre and opt for a rural mega-site policy to compensate.

    But this will not work and that will be proven in the coming months, rest assured. The evidence is stacking up against GBC’s plan and it will fail the inspector’s tests.

    What then? Hopefully, a fresh approach that is based on proportionality and need. Guildford deserves a better future than that on offer from its current administration.

    Colin Cross is the Lib Dem borough councillor for Lovelace

  6. H. Trevor Jones Reply

    April 20, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Now that we have a general election as well as the Surrey County elections, I hope people will feel free to vote for whomever they feel best to stand for Surrey regardless of national politics, which can now be expressed in the general election.

    Although still open to persuasion, I am inclined to vote in Surrey for a person of a party I can’t currently consider supporting nationally.

  7. David Roberts Reply

    April 20, 2017 at 11:50 am

    On green belt issues, there is a yawning gulf between the excellent Cllr Cross and his Lib Dem group leader, Caroline Reeves. She appears to have been completely co-opted by the Tories into their “trajectory” for the Local Plan, constantly harping on about the need for a plan – any plan – to prevent planning by appeal.

    Well, I for one would rather take my chances with the planning inspectors than accept a plan for unnecessary development in the countryside. Perhaps, representing an urban ward, Cllr Reeves doesn’t care. Or perhaps this is just another example of the Lib Dems’ touching inability to unite around clear policies.

    Either way, the Lib Dems need to rein in their group leader.

  8. David Smith Reply

    April 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I do not believe Cllr Reeves needs to be reined in at all.

    We need a party who can carefully balance the needs of the whole borough and not the minority. Guildford town centre can accommodate more homes but let’s not kid ourselves that brownfield sites are infinite in their supply.

    We have seen how the planning applications have gone for new homes at the railway station and the cathedral. Are these clear indications that enough is enough when it comes to mass development in the town centre? We now only have the capacity for flats. Many of the latest schemes don’t even have parking. So younger generations are now having to accept that they will never be able to own their own house, have a garden and own a car.

    The argument of telling people to move away to cheaper areas is just offensive.

    So in short, I’ll vote for a party that is realistic in recognising the need for a mixture of housing in both appropriate green belt and urban environments.

    • Paul Bishop Reply

      April 20, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      Completely agree. We need balance and realism, both nationally and locally. It’s not a case of banning all green belt development and it’s not a case of ignoring suitable brown fields. It’s a balance to suit the wide range of people on Guildford.

      This is the reason parties like GGG will never succeed across the wider borough, Cllr Reeves seems to understand this.

  9. Jules Cranwell Reply

    April 20, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Like Ms. Wright, and as a lifelong Tory, I too cannot bring myself to vote Tory in this election, purely based on their deceit and lies to the electorate at the last council election.

    They knew all along that they would not honour the promise, yes promise, to protect the green belt, yet they used this pledge as a cynical ploy to get re-elected. Well, not again.

    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Abe Lincoln

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *