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Letter: Sacking of New Tory Councillor Showed Council Leader’s Weakness

Published on: 10 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 10 Nov, 2021

From: Paul Spooner

leader of the Conservative group at GBC

See: I Stand By My Decision to Join the Conservatives

I believe that Cllr Jan Harwood has been refreshingly honest in his comments and the Conservative group understands that anyone who is politically active is very unlikely to agree with all policies of any political party; it is often a decision of “best fit” for any member of a political party.

We are very pleased to welcome Jan to our group and we are already seeing his value in contributions to support the Conservatives within the council.

As Conservative group leader, I was particularly disappointed to see Cllr Harwood sacked within a few hours of a meeting he and I held with the leader of the council [Joss Bigmore, R4GV] where Jan received reassurances that whilst it was very unlikely that he could retain deputy leadership of the council or remain as lead member for Planning Policy (particularly given the decision to pull the Local Plan part, 2 Regulation 19 submission, just a few hours prior to the Executive committee meeting and a few days before full council), Jan was assured that he should be retained on the Executive for Climate Change.

They say a week is a long time in politics but in this case, the weakness of the leader was demonstrated when, the following day, Jan was sacked from all positions solely because he was now considered inappropriate due to his new party affiliation.

I urge the leader to reconsider and offer Executive places based on skill and experience and not continue to block members who are Conservatives purely due to their party membership.

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Responses to Letter: Sacking of New Tory Councillor Showed Council Leader’s Weakness

  1. Wayne Smith Reply

    November 10, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    Dragon readers may find it illuminating to review the treatment of Cllr Rooth in 2018 mentioned in this the Dragon story from 2018: Council Leader – ‘I Look Forward To Working With Cllr Rooth’ and the comment added to that article by Mr John Williams.

    I urge the current leader to stick to his decision until such time as Cllr Harwood resigns and is re-elected in a Merrow by-election – that is the time to reconsider.

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