Fringe Box



Paul Spooner Only Nomination For Tory Leader Role, So Far

Published on: 21 Oct, 2015
Updated on: 22 Oct, 2015
Cllr Paul Spooner

Cllr Paul Spooner – the only nominee to be the new Tory leader, so far.

The lead councillor for planning, Paul Spooner (Ash South & Tongham), has put his name forward to be the next leader of the Conservative group at Guildford Borough Council (GBC).

And it is rumoured that Matt Furniss, having ruled himself out as a leadership candidate, could be his running mate as deputy leader.

Cllr Nigel Manning (Ash Vale) who was the deputy council leader, and has taken over as acting leader following the sudden resignation of Stephen Mansbridge, has already stated that he does not intend to stand.

Still lamenting the resignation, claimed by Mr Mansbridge to be triggered by changes to council governance arrangements, Cllr Manning said: “I know Stephen felt strongly about the governance issue. I don’t think the change is going to be that great, it just means councillors will be able to get involved a bit earlier. I don’t think it will cause the delays he thought it would.”

Former leader Cllr Tony Rooth (Pilgrims) has also ruled himself out. But Cllr Graham Ellwood (Merrow) has said: “If colleagues felt it was appropriate for me to stand whether as a leader or deputy leader, then obviously I would consider it.”

There are thought to be no other realistic contenders from within the council’s Executive.

Other possible candidates could include Cllr David Wright (Tillingbourne), a former diplomat and an experienced councillor who served as deputy leader under Cllr Rooth and Cllr Jenny Wicks (Clandon & Horsley) who was sacked from the Executive, as lead councillor for planning, by Stephen Mansbridge to make way for Monika Juneja.

Outside bets include newbies, Cllr Nils Christiansen (Holy Trinity), Cllr David Bilbe (Normandy) and Cllr Matt Sarti (Clandon & Horsley), all probably too new to become a leader but might want to raise their profile by standing as deputies.

While not mandatory, the leader of the largest political group within the council is normally elected unopposed as council leader at the following full council meeting.

There are reports from within the Tory group that some want a contested election. A number of Conservative members are understood to feel that Cllr Spooner has been too closely associated with Stephen Mansbridge who was another councillor from Ash.

A split between the role of group leader and council leader might also be considered.

Members of the GBC Conservative group will now meet on November 11 to elect their new leader and new deputy leader. Nominations have to be made by November 10.

The election of the council leader will take place at the following full council meeting on December 8.

Senior sources at Millmead have said that because Stephen Mansbridge has resigned as a councillor, as well as council leader, it will not be possible for complaints about his covert support for the “elected mayor” petition, now known to have been funded by Michel Harper, to be made.

It was the discovery of Mr Mansbridge’s role in this activity by The Guildford Dragon NEWS that many consider to be the real reason for his decision to go.



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Responses to Paul Spooner Only Nomination For Tory Leader Role, So Far

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    October 21, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Let’s have someone untainted by the Juneja/Mansbridge fiasco.

    If it needs to be a Tory, why not a newbie, such as Matt Sarti? He could make a clean start.

  2. Jenny Procter Reply

    October 21, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I hope there will be distance between the Mansbridge era and what is to come. I fear Mr Spooner is hot on words but too close to the current leadership and likely to jump back into the old predetermined groove.

    I am quite sure the electorate have had enough of the same and do not want to see a continuation of what has been the recent exclusively orchestrated and muddy arrangement we have been subjected to.

    I sincerely hope it will be an honestly contested open election where every councillor has a voice and party politics do not stand in the way of forward looking, positive, honest and transparent progress.

    We want a leader with real integrity who works first and foremost with community interests to find the best way forward for all.

  3. Ben Paton Reply

    October 21, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Mr Spooner appeared to buy into the draft Local Plan and the famous Mansbridge/Juneja ‘trajectory’ for development lock stock and barrel.

    He’s also been critical of the Freedom of Information system and its costs. Its hard to believe there’ll be a change of ‘trajectory’ or an increase of ‘openness’ if he’s elected.

  4. Jim Allen Reply

    October 22, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    We have several weeks to go – let’s not get too down hearted.

    I’m sure there will be other candidates who will be far better suited to the democratic process and if not then we will need to supply another sword and another and another until democracy wins.

    After all that’s what our forefathers did.

  5. Jules Cranwell Reply

    October 22, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Whomsoever get’s elected to the leadership, they should keep this in mind, to quote The Police:

    “Every breath you take
    Every move you make
    Every bond you break
    Every step you take
    We’ll be watching you.

    Every single day
    Every word you say
    Every game you play
    Every night you stay
    We’ll be watching you.”

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