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Parting Shot at Defecting Councillor, ‘We Hope He Finds His New Political Home to His Liking’

Published on: 3 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 4 Nov, 2021

Cllr Jan Harwood

In what might be regarded as British understatement, news that a senior colleague had defected to the Conservatives, their main political rivals in Guildford, has left Liberal Democrats “surprised and disappointed”, according to their group leader.

See also: Shock Move at Millmead – Leading Lib Dem Councillor Defects to the Conservatives

But Cllr Julia Mc Shane was elsewhere damning in her reaction to Cllr Jan Harwood’s decision to cross the floor to a party: “synonymous with sewage, sleaze and injustice”.

She said: “We were sorry to learn that Jan Harwood has decided that his values do not align with the Liberal Democrats and that he will be joining the Conservatives.

Cllr Julia McShane

“It has come as a particular surprise and disappointment to learn that, in contradiction to his previously expressed values on the environment and decency in politics, Cllr Harwood has chosen to join the Conservatives at a time when they are synonymous with sewage, sleaze and injustice. Nonetheless, we thank him for his previous work for the residents of the borough as a member of the administration and hope he finds his new political home to his liking.

“We are also aware that his decision will come as a shock to Merrow residents who voted for a Liberal Democrat to represent them and now have a Conservative councillor instead.

“We hope Cllr Harwood will reflect on his duties to the residents of Merrow and do the honourable thing, but the rest of the Merrow Lib Dem team will continue to work hard for the entire local community.”

“Obviously Cllr Harwood’s resignation from the Liberal Democrats will also necessitate changes to the Guildford Borough Council Executive, and these changes will be made in due course.”

Politicians who switch parties are often called on to resign but there is no requirement for them to do so.

Cllrs Tony Rooth and Bob McShee, who defected from the Conservative party to become Independents in 2018, also faced calls to resign and allow a by-election, by their former political colleagues, members of the Conservative group. They both subsequently held their seats at the borough council elections in May 2019.

See also: Comment: Will This Shock Defection Allow More Progress?

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Responses to Parting Shot at Defecting Councillor, ‘We Hope He Finds His New Political Home to His Liking’

  1. Shelley Grainger Reply

    November 4, 2021 at 6:56 am

    As the Conservative party nationally lurches from embarrassment to embarrassment, all decisions seemingly made on the basis of lobbying and enriching themselves and their friends, one can only wonder at Cllr Harwood’s decision. We’ll have to wait and watch for further clarification.

    Shelley Grainger is a member of Guildford Labour

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    November 4, 2021 at 9:32 am

    There’s a certain honesty changing allegiances, but I still think that honesty should be reflected in a vote of the electorate at a by-election.

  3. Andrew Isherwood Reply

    November 4, 2021 at 9:33 am

    While the Lib Dems must be disappointed, it would help political discourse if good manners and decency could be maintained. Perhaps Cllr Julia McShane could have done a better job of hiding her disappointment.

    • Andrew Calladine Reply

      November 8, 2021 at 1:27 pm

      I totally disagree with Andrew Isherwood. Cllr Julia McShane is well with in her rights to express disappointment and point out that the residents of Merrow voted for a Liberal Democrat, not a Conservative. She is also right to point out that this seems a strange decision considering the recent Conservative record of incompetence, nepotism and corruption.

  4. Alan Bathurst Reply

    November 4, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Can’t understand why anyone would want to be associated with the Lib Dems.

    • D Philips Reply

      November 4, 2021 at 10:50 pm

      Perhaps it’s because they actually care about people?

    • Andrew Calladine Reply

      November 8, 2021 at 1:30 pm

      Compared to the compassionate, caring Conservatives, who oversee record numbers of child poverty, working poor, reducing environmental protections, reducing trade with the largest trading bloc in the World and introducing xenophobic immigration policies and so on.

  5. John Perkins Reply

    November 9, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Andrew Calladine offers easy political gibes, but no facts.

    Does he have any proof that the Conservatives are “reducing trade with the largest trading bloc in the world”? To which bloc is he referring?

    Like many who would have preferred the UK to remain in the EU, he offers comparisons from a few years ago. RCEP [Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, South East Asia] is the largest trading bloc in the world with an (increasing) nominal GDP 50% greater than that of the EU and a population five times the size. USMCA [US, Mexico, Canada Agreement] is the second largest, also with a nominal GDP 50% greater and a population slightly bigger.

  6. Martin Dowland Reply

    February 2, 2022 at 9:46 am

    This came as little surprise as Harwood was one of a few who, contrary to the evident will of the electorate to move away from the ways of the Conservatives, seemed very early on in the current administration to be their supporter and relied on their support.

    Yes, the councillors and the electors will be disappointed. Next time we are at the ballot box we should be sure who the supporters of change really are. Certainly not the Guildford Labour party, by the way.

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