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R4GV See Off Strong Lib Dem Challenge in the Horsleys SCC By-election

Published on: 20 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 20 Oct, 2023

Winning candidate Dennis Booth

By Martin Giles and

Emily Coady-Stemp local democracy reporter

The Residents for Guildford and Villages hung onto their Horsleys Surrey County Council Seat. Dennis Booth emerged as the by-election winner but the Lib Dem candidate Paul Kennedy made it a tight race. He was just 72 votes behind.

The by-election was held yesterday (October 19) in the division that includes Ripley, Ockham, Wisley and East and West Horsley. In a low turnout contest, only 28.3 per cent of voters turned out . The count was not conducted until this morning at GBC’s offices at Millmead.

Horsleys SCC by-election result October 2023

The by-election came about after the resignation of Colin Cross, who said a document produced by the county council regarding the ongoing appeal into plans for 1,700 homes on the former Wisley Airfield was a “travesty”.

See: County Councillor Quits Saying SCC Agreement With Developer Was Final Straw

The Horlseys SCC Division

Of the appeal, currently being heard, Mr Booth said he hoped it would “go in favour of the local people” and be refused.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I will be supporting the residents and I look forward to meeting with the residents’ groups and identifying their needs and challenges.”

He thanked residents for voting for him and the other candidates for fighting “a very fair and hard election”.

Cllr Joss Bigmore, the party’s leader and a borough councillor, said R4GV were “delighted” that Mr Booth had been elected.

He added: “Colin achieved substantial funding for local road and pavement improvements and new facilities, and Dennis is committed to extending this good work, together with R4GV’s excellent borough councillors.”

Colin Cross with his replacement Dennis Booth

He said Mr Booth would hold the county council accountable for spending the millions of pounds of Section 106 money owed to Surrey communities.

He added: “Dennis is very proud to represent the Horsleys and is already rolling his sleeves up to get stuck in.”

Zoe Franklin, the prospective Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate for Guildford responding on behalf of Paul Kennedy said: “During this by-election, the Lib Dem team spoke to thousands of residents and found strong support for our excellent candidate Paul Kennedy.

“Our vote share shot up by over 25%, with the Conservatives down to just 569 votes – residents have had enough of the Conservatives. Sadly, this huge surge was not enough for Paul to be elected and we congratulate Dennis Booth on his win.

“The next time local people go to the polls is likely to be the General Election and it’s clear the Lib Dems and I are best placed to provide the change residents are looking for.”

See official declaration here (video courtesy of R4GV)

The Lib Dems mounted a strong challenge with their experienced candidate Paul Kennedy, who was only 72 votes behind R4GV’s Dennis Booth, Guildford’s former mayor, who was defeated in the May GBC elections. He will be relieved that he has been able to win the seat for his party after their significant reverses in May.

Paul Kennedy, Liberal Democrats

Second place might be little consolation but the Lib Dems also increased their share of the vote significantly, pushing the Conservatives into third.

The village divisions are always tough for Labour but they can seek consolation in their two major Parliamentary by-election results elsewhere in the country. The Lib Dems will also be hoping that depressed support for the Conservatives will help them when the next general election comes.

Horsleys SCC Election Result 2021 – Wikipedia


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Responses to R4GV See Off Strong Lib Dem Challenge in the Horsleys SCC By-election

  1. David Roberts Reply

    October 22, 2023 at 10:15 am

    That makes a clean sweep for local parties R4GV and GGG in this part of the borough, with not only a county councillor but six borough councillors representing the two wards most affected by the Wisley proposal. What clearer message could there be from residents?

    Paul Kennedy came close for the Lib Dems only because he is widely known and liked here from having repeatedly stood as a parliamentary candidate for Mole Valley, and from having also declared himself against Wisley New Town.

    But with only 24 per cent of the vote between them, the mighty Conservative and Labour Parties performed pathetically badly – this despite three local Tory MPs recently signing a joint letter opposing Wisley New Town. Only ten years ago, this was solid Tory territory.

    Considering Thursday’s filthy weather, the 28 per cent turnout was not bad for a local election. In the borough elections in May, it was only 32 per cent nationally.

  2. David Smith Reply

    October 23, 2023 at 9:03 am

    With such a poor turnout and the Lib Dems very close behind, I’m not sure this sends a clear message at all. If anything it’s surprising, bearing in mind the former leader of the Lib Dems voted for the Local plan.

  3. Alexander Stewart-Clark Reply

    October 24, 2023 at 1:24 pm

    Many congratulations to Dennis Booth. I wish him a successful term as he represents the Horsleys at Surrey County Council.

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