Fringe Box



Letter: Who Does Ben Paton Stand For?

Published on: 15 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 26 Sep, 2014

3d human with a red question markFrom Paul Spooner

May I ask Mr Paton for a clear position statement in relation to his political standing?

Is Mr Paton standing as a Conservative candidate in the Lovelace ward GBC [Guildford Borough Council] by-election for reasons of convenience given that GGG [Guildford Greenbelt Group] is not yet a registered party?

Or is Mr Paton standing as a Conservative with no wish to ‘walk the floor’ to join another political party, such as GGG, at a later date?

I think the residents of Lovelace deserve a clear position statement from Mr Paton prior to the forthcoming election.

It would be very unfortunate if residents voted for a Conservative candidate only to find they have elected someone who was masquerading as such (should he be successful).

See also: Letter: I Am Standing For the People of Lovelace

Paul Spooner is a borough councillor for Ash South & Tongham and the lead councillor for governance on the Guildford Borough Council Executive

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Responses to Letter: Who Does Ben Paton Stand For?

  1. Martin Elliott Reply

    September 15, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    How strange.

    One would have thought Cllr Mansbridge, who questionably attended the Local Conservative Association nomination meeting would have been able to answer Cllr Spooner. Especially as it was reported Cllr Mansbridge attempted to oppose the selection.

    The elections next year become more and more interesting with internal party spats and a criminal prosecution for fraud and forgery.

  2. Adrian Atkinson Reply

    September 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I will leave that to Mr Paton to answer but perhaps there should be many Conservative councillors walking in various directions across the floor given they have reneged on the Conservative pledge upon which they were voted in – protecting the green belt. They constantly complain about Conservative central government agenda of excessive development to drive growth and central policy shaping the local plan.

    Let’s not worry about politics let’s worry about Guildford borough.

  3. Graham Moore Reply

    September 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    From what I have read in The Guildford Dragon, Mr Paton appears to be much more Conservative than the current members of the GBC Executive.

  4. John Robson Reply

    September 15, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    That’s a little bit rich for a member of the Executive asking for a “clear position statement” given the farcical state of the Local Plan they have thus far delivered.

    Who do the Ash based Executive represent? Do they represent the people of Guildford or do they represent the interests of central government, it’s housing target and the profiteering developers circling this town.

    I think the people of Guildford deserve a “clear position statement”. Why is this isolated Executive intent on delivering “Dave’s plan”, not a local plan?

  5. Neville Bryan Reply

    September 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Same as yours before the last election?

    Except from the Conservative 2011 Local Manifesto: “#3 Fight Garden Grabbing and protect the green belt.
    Following our victory in defeating the South East Plan, we will join residents in fighting inappropriate development.”

    I wonder where that commitment went? Perhaps the introduction gives us a clue.

    I suspect Ben means it though.

  6. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Mr Paton has made his position extremely clear. Unlike the Tory turn-coats in the executive who gave a clear manifesto promise to protect the green belt, and now hopes to concrete over it, he has pledged to do everything to protect it. This is a very Conservative position. If he gets in, we will at least have one true Tory to fight for the greenbelt.

    It is worth noting that Cllr. Mansbridge used the same arguments in his failed attempt to persuade the Lovelace Conservative Association to reject Mr. Paton, when he attended the selection panel.

    It is understandable the Cllr. Spooner and his chums are panicked and running scared at the prospect. It would not be comfortable for this Executive with someone brave enough to challenge in amongst them.

  7. Anna-Marie Davis Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 11:16 am

    What a peculiar letter. Ben Paton has made his position quite clear and was duly chosen as Conservative candidate by his local Conservative association despite the Leader of the Council’s attempted intervention.

    The Executive would do well to realise that people holding Ben Paton’s views, not to mention his willingness to express them articulately, openly and honestly, are far more attractive to Conservative voters than those held by the current leadership.

    If all the Conservatives behaved as he does, they might be in with a chance come May. Personally, I will vote for the candidate that loathes disinformation as much as I do, one that has with Guildford’s interests at heart, whatever flag they fly.

  8. Roland McKinney Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 11:31 am

    What does Mr Paton stand for? As for as I can see he stands for honour, integrity, honesty and commitment to a cause dear to conservative (small c) hearts. Concepts members of the Executive (and the Guildford Conservative party in general) appear not to understand. “Why complain if you are not a victim,” says it all really. What a manifesto position that will be in 2015.

  9. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Is it just me, or do others find it quite unprecedented, and extraordinary for a Tory councillor to try to undermine a Tory candidate? I’m not sure central office would like this very much.

  10. Michael Bruton Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    As an instinctive Conservative I am appalled by the actions of Guildford Borough Council (GBC) over the Local Plan. Voters will remember at the election next May that the Guildford Conservatives were elected in 2011 on a promise to protect the green belt. They have reneged on that promise totally.

    GBC now seems to be run by a small clique of councillors, centred on Ash, with the majority of Tory councillors sidelined or ignored. But they deserve that, given their silence on the string of shenanigans that have occurred at Millmead over recent years.

    I regard Ben Paton as a real Conservative – unlike those who rule at Millmead. He has total integrity, a sharp brain and unlike many councillors has actually read and understood the shambles which is the Tory proposed Local Plan. A plan incidentally on which the Conservatives have apparently already spent £1.5 million of our money.

    I would recommend that Cllr Spooner actually reads Ben Paton’s election leaflet and Sir Paul Beresford’s accompanying letter. Ben demonstrates that the Local Plan has more holes in it than a colander.

    Sir Paul, a distinguished and experienced Tory MP, makes a coruscating and accurate criticism of the leadership of Guildford Borough Council. It will be interesting to see what the Inspector, at the Public Inquiry, makes of the Tory Local Plan omnishambles.

    Either the Conservatives change the leadership of Guildford Borough Council or they face election wipeout in May 2015. In fact they may be too late, even now.

  11. Bernard Parke Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    No, it is not just you.

  12. Paul Spooner Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Mr Cranwell, how could you possibly see a request for clarification as undermining Mr Paton. I still await his clear position statement.

  13. Bernard Parke Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Cllr Spooner represents a suburb of a Hampshire town, some nine miles away, in another constituency.

    Is he familiar with the day to day problems that we face here in Guildford?

    Does he and the others members from Ash who dominate policy in our town speak for the people of Guildford?

    • Paul Spooner Reply

      September 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Is it a serious question from Hon Alderman Parke?

      I was born in Guildford. My parents both came from Ripley (Lovelace). I have lived in Guildford and the surrounding areas all my life (bar a residential period in Russia and times of business and leisure travel) and am therefore far more ‘familiar’ to Guildford than most. I still have family members across the borough, from east to west.

      As someone who has been involved in local politics for decades Hon Alderman Parke’s references to members from Ash dominating policy are ridiculous. Did he make the same claims when majorities of Executive have been from the east of the borough in the very recent past?

      Even with the recent change from ten to eight Executive members there is still not a majority from Ash.

      Perhaps when the Hon Alderman is next in the presence of councillors he will ask Cllrs: Creedy, Billington, Furniss and/or Jackson if they are dominated?

      Whilst there perhaps he could also clarify with the two members who recently stepped down if they were also ‘dominated’ as Executive members, Cllrs Palmer and Juneja.

      Very disappointing indeed.

      Hon Alderman Bernard Parke is a former Mayor of Guildford and former Conservative councillor for Onslow Ward.

      Paul Spooner is a Conservative borough councillor for Ash South and Tongham and lead councillor for governance.

  14. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 16, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    A quote from Cllr Spooner’s letter:

    “It would be very unfortunate if residents voted for a Conservative candidate only to find they have elected someone who was masquerading as such”.

    I rest my case.

    Let’s hear some clear support for a Tory candidate from his potential new colleagues. They should be out there canvassing like mad. Are they?

  15. John Robson Reply

    September 17, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I don’t know Ben Paton, but his articulate and passionate response strikes me as representative of the feelings of a large majority of people in Guildford at this juncture.

    Can we now have Cllr Spooner’s “clear position statement” as to how the proposed housing number of 652, within the Draft Local Plan, can have any credibility based upon a flawed SHMA [Strategic Housing Market Assessment]?

    And could he clarify why the Ash dominated Executive intends to deliver a plan that prioritises developer need, not local need?

    Maybe we’ll have to wait for yet another consultant to draft the Executive’s formal response?

  16. Adrian Atkinson Reply

    September 17, 2014 at 9:44 am

    In communication, context is everything.

    As a bystander, I don’t see the point in trying to re-sow seed on the previous fallow ground ploughed by Cllr Mansbridge in his attempt to block Mr Paton’s appointment as the Conservative candidate. Mole Valley Conservatives and Lovelace were happy to select him.

    As I said context is everything: so what is the context behind Cllr Spooner’s and Cllr Mansbridge’s apparent problem with Mr Paton’s selection?

    In addition, if it was purely for clarification, Cllr Spooner should have stopped at his question rather than go on to say: “It would be very unfortunate if residents voted for a Conservative candidate only to find they have elected someone who was masquerading as such.” Sounds like an attempt to undermine Mr Paton to me.

    There are many overdue request for points of clarification in the Guildford Borough Council’s in-tray. They have three working days to complete. Perhaps the focus should be on these?

  17. Harry Eve Reply

    September 17, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Those councillors who were elected under a manifesto of protecting the green belt but now support the draft Local Plan are the ones who are (or were) masquerading.

  18. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

    The Tory group appears to be running scared that the prospective new member of their group will ask difficult questions; questions that they have consistently refused to answer under FOI provisions.

    Is their concern that the truth will out, if an enquiring mind is allowed in amongst them?

  19. Bernard Parke Reply

    September 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I thank Cllr Spooner for for enlightening me.

    May I suggest that to continue this correspondence does nothing for the image of the Conservative Party.

    It also does not help our own Guildford MP in any way, especially when there is a general election next year.

  20. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    I could not agree more with Bernard Parke. For the sake of the local Tories, it is perhaps time for Cllr. Spooner to be more considered in his comments.

    They are doing the party nothing but harm. Perhaps a time for quiet reflection is called for. It really would be for the best.

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