Fringe Box



Elected Mayor Referendum Announcement – Reactions

Published on: 23 May, 2016
Updated on: 25 May, 2016

GBC petitionLocal political parties reacted this evening to news that the “Elected Mayor Petition” had reached the minimum number necessary to force a referendum.

Council leader Paul Spooner (Con, Ash South & Tongham) said: “I am pleased that the long and somewhat difficult process has now resulted in the Proper Officer today confirming that the amalgamated petition for an elected mayor has finally been validated. I now look forward to campaigning against the proposed constitutional change as I support the current hybrid model.”

Cllr Paul Spooner

Cllr Paul Spooner

Constituency chair and former councillor Zoe Franklin, speaking on behalf of the Lib Dem group at Millmead said: “No system is perfect but Guildford Liberal Democrats believe that the most effective system for Guildford is the model we currently have.

“A council where elected councillors from multiple parties have the power to elect a council leader and then hold them to account, and sack them if necessary, gives the best and most transparent results for our town and borough.

Former councillor Zoe Franklin

Constituency chair Zoe Franklin

“Therefore we will campaign against the introduction of an elected mayor for Guildford who would, once elected, effectively be an unaccountable dictator for four years with all power resting in the hands of a single person.

“However, as democrats we will respect the people’s choice in the referendum and if that choice is in favour of a mayor then we would of course field the best possible candidate in any mayoral election.”

Susan Parker (Send) leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group and organiser of a petition, started before she was elected as a councillor, for a return to a committee style of governance at GBC, said: “This is not a surprise, although it is a disappointment.

Cllr Susan Parker

Cllr Susan Parker

“It is a shame… that those who felt that they had been misled and wished to withdraw their signature were not permitted to do so.

“An elected mayor would mean yet more centralised control and power within Guildford. There will be even less opportunity than at present for other elected representatives to make their views known.

“GGG is not in favour of the elected mayoral system which concentrates too much power in the hands of one individual.”

An opinion poll in The Guildford Dragon NEWS in which 318 readers have taken part shows a large majority against an elected mayor system. The current figures (as at May 23) are: 82% against, 15% in favour, 3% don’t know. Readers can still vote.

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Responses to Elected Mayor Referendum Announcement – Reactions

  1. Pete Brayne Reply

    May 25, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I look forward to hearing the arguments for and against, although I fear the result may reveal it’s been a waste of money at a time when we can least afford it. But democracy always has a price.

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