Fringe Box



Letter: The Lib Dem Council Leader Should Go But a Tory Administration is Not The Answer

Published on: 10 May, 2024
Updated on: 10 May, 2024

Solace report published

From: Mark Stamp

In response to: Council Leader Apologises Following Publication of Damning Report on GBC

Ensuring governance and scrutiny is effective is the responsibility of the council Executive, not the officers, and as portfolio holder for Housing and leader, Julia McShane must  see that her position is untenable. If she can’t see it her Lib Dem colleagues should tell her.

She must also make herself accountable to the people of Guildford by making herself available for interview by The Dragon which she has seemingly refused to do since she became leader more than 18 months ago.

I entirely disagree with Christian Holliday that a Conservative administration would be the solution. Guildford’s MP regularly uses Lib Dem problems at Millmead as a reason not to elect them to Westminster.

I will reverse the argument and ask how a party whose minister for counter-fraud resigned because the government (specifically the treasury under Rishi Sunak) had “little interest in the consequences of fraud to our society” thinks it will solve the problems at GBC?

Editor’s comment: Julia McShane ignored several requests for interview from The Dragon in 2023 but did grant an interview on March 1 this year on the subject of the HRA investigations. A Zoom (ie online) interview was requested but Cllr McShane preferred face to face at Millmead.

However, at the beginning of the interview I was told that filming or even sound recording to allow accurate quotation was not permitted. As I don’t have shorthand accurate recording of responses was not possible (many reporters now rely on audio records and I can’t recall it ever being a problem before).

I tried to continue but the situation became worse when others present (the new CEO and two comms officers) started to interject or answer for the council leader. On reflection I regretted proceeding with the interview with the restrictions imposed and decided not to publish a report as I could not be sure what had been said or by whom. In any case, very little additional information had been elicited.

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Responses to Letter: The Lib Dem Council Leader Should Go But a Tory Administration is Not The Answer

  1. Thom Van Every Reply

    May 10, 2024 at 5:46 pm

    At this stage perception is everything. If the Lib Dems wont call their own to account when the facts ( rather than just opinions) are clear, it says all we need to know about the culture of their leadership.

  2. Jose Fiuza Reply

    May 11, 2024 at 5:41 am

    The editor’s comment about the interview is totally damning of the council leader and officers. Absolutely outrageous behaviour.

    Mr Stamp is conflating irrelevant points (and he might argue our MP does too).

    The fact is when the Conservatives ran Guildford it had a surplus and reserves and did not have this fraud issue. The Lib Dems and R4GV blew the surplus, used the reserves and allowed the fraud.

    We need an alternative and the only one locally which indeed has a record of competence is the Conservatives.

    • Lottie Harding Reply

      May 13, 2024 at 3:35 pm

      As if the Conservatives were so competent at running Woking Borough Council which issued a Section 114 notice, effectively declaring bankruptcy, after getting itself into over £1 billion of debt? Or Spelthorne and Runnymede who have recently been issued with best value notices again due to their high levels of debt?

  3. John Perkins Reply

    May 11, 2024 at 9:33 am

    What could Julia McShane possibly have to conceal?

    Government ministers, even the PM, regularly give interviews in front of journalists wielding cameras and microphones. There can be no excuse for a minor politician to hide from scrutiny.

  4. Anthony Mallard Reply

    May 13, 2024 at 11:57 am

    There appear to be a number of individuals with very short memories. Wasn’t it the Guildford Conservatives who produced the flawed Local Plan and forced it through. The Borough lives with that legacy today.

    Frankly, I have no idea for whom one should vote these days either nationally or locally all appear to be focussed on self interest, without much regard for the needs of the country or the electorate. An unhappy dilemma.

    • Stuart Barnes Reply

      May 14, 2024 at 10:24 am

      I agree. Perhaps Mr Mallard should do what a lot of us do now, ie vote against the party he hates most rather than for anyone? That is what many have done ever since the great Lady Thatcher left the scene.

      It is my opinion that none of the current leaders of the three main parties are worth a job.

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