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R4GV Leader Endorses Conservative Candidate Without Considering Consequences

Published on: 4 Jun, 2024
Updated on: 5 Jun, 2024

By Martin Giles

An endorsement of Guildford’s Conservative candidate in the current general election campaign  is likely to send shock waves through the local political landscape.

Joss Bigmore, the leader of the erstwhile proudly politically independent Residents for Guildford & Villages (R4GV), has endorsed Angela Richardson, who is in a desperate fight with Liberal Democrats to retain her seat.

The message posted on social media by Angela Richardson’s campaign yesterday (June 3).

In a message posted by Ms Richardson backed with R4GV party colours, Bigmore says: “With Angela as our MP, I am confident that Guildford and our villages will be in competent hands.”

Reacting to the news Pete Bennett, the chair of R4GV, said: “R4GV are a purely local party focussing only on integrity and local issues. We therefore have no party position on this election.

“Our members will vote a mixture of Lib Dem, Labour, Green and Conservative. Joss, on a personal basis, feels that Angela would make a good MP in opposition to the inevitable Labour government. Other R4GV councillors and members strongly disagree. If other parties are that desperate for endorsements, then feel free to ask!”

But it is unlikely that R4GV supporters and opponents will all be happy with the stance taken by the R4GV leader. The Dragon understands that some supporters have already said so.

The announcement also caught R4GV colleagues by surprise. One said: “It would have been good for him to give us warning.”

In an email to colleagues the R4GV party leader admitted not warning his party colleagues was a “serious misjudgement” for which he “wholeheartedly apologises” and that he “did not think about the potential consequences on [his party colleagues] or R4GV”.

A spokesperson for the Lib Dem group at GBC said: “Given R4GV have always campaigned on the premise that they’re “putting local issues first – not party politics”, we’re sure their voters will be interested to see their leader has declared his support for Guildford’s Conservative candidate.

“In doing so, Cllr Bigmore is backing the Conservatives and their failed record on planning which has caused so much damage to Guildford and our Villages.

“We understand this has come as a surprise to his R4GV colleagues. R4GV voters may also be more than concerned to discover Cllr Bigmore’s political leanings. But at least we now know why Cllr Bigmore often votes with the Conservative group.”


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Responses to R4GV Leader Endorses Conservative Candidate Without Considering Consequences

  1. Alan Judge Reply

    June 4, 2024 at 2:30 pm

    That’s odd. I thought Cllr Bigmore had moved to Woking and is therefore not even eligible to vote for her.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    June 4, 2024 at 3:18 pm

    Should we be worried that someone so overtly political and who admits to both a “serious misjudgement” as well as a failure “to think about the potential consequences,” chairs the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust.

    Surely, the appointee should be apolitical and someone in whom we place our trust to fight for and obtain from an elected government appropriate funding to pay for staff and the necessary resources to deliver the best possible health care for residents of Guildford and its surrounding communities.

    Can Cllr Joss Bigmore achieve this and, clearly support and endorse a particular candidate in the forthcoming general election?

    • John Perkins Reply

      June 5, 2024 at 9:09 am

      Where might this apolitical appointee be found and how might they be appraised?

  3. Ben Paton Reply

    June 4, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    A bit of a cheek to use Mr Bigmore’s “endorsement” as if it were the endorsement of the party that he stands for, R4GV.

    Perhaps this explains why Mr Bigmore and Mr Rigg did absolutely nothing to revise the disastrous Tory 2019 Local Plan when they were in office at the council?

    Our MPs have shown little or no interest in the Local Plan. It was was ten years in the making but Anne Milton and Angela Richardson maintained almost total radio silence on it. They don’t appear to have commented on the conduct of the leader and deputy leader of the Guildford Conservatives – former councillors Mansbridge and Juneja. They have not commented on the adoption of a grossly exaggerated and objectively wrong housing target. They appear to have done little or nothing to check the rampant incompetence evident in the Local Plan.

    Can they argue that a Local Plan is a local and not a national problem? Hardly. It is the planning directorate and a succession of planning inspectors appointed by the Conservative government that have changed the rural parts of this borough forever and for the worse. Unfortunately for local residents Labour and the Lib Dems are part of the same cosy consensus that houses should be belt on green fields in the green belt.

  4. Helena Townsend Reply

    June 4, 2024 at 4:22 pm

    In my opinion, Angela Richardson is indeed a safe pair of hands but it’s what these hands are attached to that’s the problem.

    YouGov poll stated that Jeremy Hunt’s seat is “likely to become a Lib Dem seat” and Guildford will be Lib Dem. I’ve not seen a single Conservative board up.

  5. Julian Lyon Reply

    June 4, 2024 at 10:57 pm

    It could also be said that Joss Bigmore has seen the Lib Dems in action at close quarters.

  6. Jim Allen Reply

    June 5, 2024 at 10:23 am

    Endorsement of any elected official can only be a personal opinion, unless agreed within any organisation. An individual might endorse an Independent at parish council level, R4GV at Borough level, a Liberal Democrat at county level and a Conservative as an MP purely because of the characters involved.

    • Ben Paton Reply

      June 5, 2024 at 1:14 pm

      Fair point. But putting R4GV’s colours up on the Conservative candidate’s website looks like endorsement – and must have been meant to give that impression.


  7. Jules Cranwell Reply

    June 6, 2024 at 7:40 am

    This will be a tough election for Angela Richardson. She has done a good job as our MP. However, she is unfortunately tainted by the record of the Tories at GBC, their deeply flawed Local Plan, and their close association with developers.

    As an R4GV supporter locally, I will also be voting for Angela. Yes, I’m still sore at the Tories locally, but at national level, the alternatives are too awful to contemplate.

    On one issue alone, 20 per cent tax on private school fees, I suspect that Labour will struggle in Surrey. Having made the typical sacrifices to give my kids a superior education, that 20 per cent would have pushed us over the edge. This will cause an exodus of children into the state sector, which does not have the resources to support it.

    As for the Lib Dems, their record locally, and that of their leader has been shocking, so I don’t fancy their chances,

  8. Richard Mills Reply

    June 6, 2024 at 5:21 pm

    How on earth could any R4GV leader or supporter criticise Joss Bigmore’s endorsement of Angela Richardson? Isn’t it the core of their mantra that we should all of us act in what we see as the best interests of local residents regardless of any affiliation.

    If they drop that they have nothing left.

    Richard Mills is a Conservative borough councillor for Castle Ward

  9. David Roberts Reply

    June 6, 2024 at 7:31 pm

    The election in Guildford is a two-horse race. I’m not enthusiastic about the Lib Dems, but in my eyes Angela Richardson has disqualified herself by voting for Brexit, the biggest national catastrophe since World War 2 (and, worse still, self-inflicted!)

    For me, this can only mean that she has no political judgement.

    • John Perkins Reply

      June 7, 2024 at 6:29 pm

      Has David Roberts any evidence that Brexit is “the biggest national catastrophe since World War 2” or is he just hoping continuity project fear will persuade people to reverse it? That didn’t work so well the first time it was tried.

      Perhaps he should judge Angel Richardson on the way she voted on all issues and not just the one.

  10. Graham Vickery Reply

    June 6, 2024 at 11:28 pm

    I voted for R4GV on every occasion since their inception. I shall not being voting for any national political party at this election – none are worthy.

    At the local level I am bitterly disappointed at the feebleness of R4GV and the Lib Dems, by their standing by wringing their hands pleading powerlessness to slow up the juggernaut of developers let loose by former Tory council leader Spooner and his party on the villages of Guildford.

    He and his cohorts were seen off, only to be replaced by the rotation of slack Lib Dems and R4GV. All of the “parties” at Millmead House have left it to residents to fight egregious developers.

    The “independent” planning inspector agreeing the appeal of Taylor Wimpey over Wisley is a clear example signalling their utter uselessness, not forgetting questionable figures in Whitehall who guided the inspector.

    • George Potter Reply

      June 7, 2024 at 6:07 pm

      When every political party fails to do what you want, is it because they are all charlatans or is it because what you want is not within their power to accomplish?

      George Potter is a Lib Dem borough and county councillor.

    • John Perkins Reply

      June 7, 2024 at 6:38 pm

      Government inspectors have previously shown their independence amounts to nothing more than functioning according to their employer’s behest. Their use of SANGs as a reason for building is one example.

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