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Green Party Member Quits R4GV Group Because of Impending By-election

Published on: 29 Sep, 2022
Updated on: 2 Oct, 2022

Cllr Diana Jones

By Martin Giles

The sole Green Party member at Guildford Borough Council has resigned from the Residents for Guildford & Villages (R4GV) group in what is said to be an amicable split caused by the impending Tillingbourne by-election where both parties are standing candidates.

See also: Tillingbourne By-election To Be Held in October

But the move will cause a recalculation of the memberships of the various council committees. Seats are, as far as possible, allocated on a pro-rata basis according to the number of councillors each party group has.

The allocation has been reviewed numerous times during this administration as group affiliations and numbers have frequently changed.

Cllr Diana Jones (Green, Tillingbourne) said of her decision: “This is a purely administrative procedure. I am a proud member of the Green Party but I also believe that my constituents elected me as their representative on Guildford Borough Council to act on their behalf as effectively as possible.

“Unfortunately, GBC’s rules dictated that, as the sole councillor from my party, my right to sit on any committee was dependent on joining a larger group. R4GV very kindly allowed me to caucus with them so that I could represent my constituents better.

“The disadvantage of that accommodation with R4GV, however, was that GBC wouldn’t allow me to be listed as a Green Party Member on their website.

“With a by-election coming up in my ward, we felt that the Green Party’s profile should be raised and the only way that GBC would allow that to happen was for me to withdraw from my arrangement with R4GV.

“Joss Bigmore [leader of R4GV] completely understands my position and is very supportive, as are my Green Party colleagues nationally, in Guildford and Waverley and across Surrey.

Sam Peters the Green Party’s candidate in the Tillingbourne by-election with Guildford’s first Green Party councillor, Diana Jones. Photo taken in April 2021.

“I hope those who elected me will think that I have done a good job, will understand the need for this current adjustment and will turn out in good numbers to support Sam Peters, the Green Party candidate in the Tillingbourne by-election.”

The political composition of the borough council is now:

  • Guildford Liberal Democrats   16
  • Residents for Guildford & Villages   15
  • Conservatives   8
  • Guildford Greenbelt Group   4
  • Labour   2
  • Green Party   1
  • Independent   1
  • Vacancy (Tillingbourne) 1

A review of the allocation of seats on committees to political groups is to be submitted to the next ordinary meeting of GBC on October 11.

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