Fringe Box



How Guildford’s Opposition Parties Select Their Candidates

Published on: 3 Sep, 2018
Updated on: 28 Oct, 2018

In the past week, we had the surprising Conservative candidate selection meeting at Worplesdon. This Friday (September 7, 2018) we have the next interesting selection to be made for Holy Trinity ward, a selection to be made by the Guildford Conservative Association Executive itself, having called in the decision following two attempts by the local branch.

Dennis Paul, an incumbent councillor, will no longer be in the running having been selected to stand in Worplesdon ward, the ward in which he lives. This leaves more of an opportunity for others competing for the three, relatively safe Conservative candidate slots in Holy Trinity.

But how do the opposition Guildford Borough Council political parties select their candidates?

We asked each party to:

  • outline its candidate selection process,
  • describe how it ensures candidates are capable of carrying out all duties expected of them as ward councillors,
  • give an undertaking that it will not field “paper candidates” [ie candidates that do not want or expect to win, standing only to get a share of the vote],
  • summarise where the party was with the selection of GBC candidates for 2019?

Here is what they said…

Ciaran Doran, chairman Guildford Liberal Democrats

We notify all local party members and registered supporters of forthcoming elections and request interest to stand.

Each candidate is required to complete an application form, and in accordance with national guidelines, is then interviewed by a panel according to consistent and strict criteria.  The role and responsibilities of a councillor are discussed, and the interview panel will always ask questions relating to the candidate’s motivation and ability to perform these duties.

The local party is therefore confident that any selected candidate would be suitable to serve as a member of the council should they be elected.

The selection process for the 2019 elections is well underway.

Susan Parker, leader of Guildford Greenbelt Group

As a procedure, our members are invited to put themselves forward as candidates and are then interviewed by the committee.

This interview includes discussion of the candidate’s abilities and experience. All our elected councillors have years of independent professional expertise and experience, while not being professional or established politicians, and this is the sort of profile that we tend to attract as members- as a result, our candidates have all been of a very high calibre.

We don’t expect any political experience – none of the current GGG councillors had ever had any political office before being elected in 2015.   We have never fielded paper candidates and do not intend to start doing so now.

We are a small and independent party that has been successful in challenging the established pattern within local politics. With only three councillors we have not been able to overturn the direction of council policy (which we would have liked to do), but despite this, we have had an impact.

New candidates would be welcome for 2019 and of course, new members are always welcome to join us.

Brian Creese, spokesperson for Guildford Labour Party

We are delighted with the progress we have made so far in appointing candidates for next year’s Borough council elections.

In fact, where Guildford Borough and Guildford Parliamentary constituencies coincide we have most of our candidates settled. There are parts of the borough which involve liaising with other constituency parties and these always take longer to finalise, but we are making great progress.

We follow our national party rules on appointing candidates; candidates meet with members of our executive but are formally selected democratically at local branch meetings where all our members are invited to participate. We brief all our candidates on what is expected of them and on how the council operates, and are encouraged to attend the GBC councillor training programme.

All our candidates are standing because they believe in Labour policies and because they think Labour can do better than the current council and make a positive difference to the lives of the people of Guildford.

Guildford Labour Party is ready and waiting for the campaign to start so we can give the voters the opportunity to replace the failing Conservatives and the ineffective Lib Dems with a Labour team who have a clear view of how the borough needs to develop for everyone in our town and villages.

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